SAN JOSE, Calif. – Startup WigWag aims to kickstart a new do-it-yourselfer fad in home automation. The Austin-based company announced in June recently surpassed its modest funding goals on Kickstarter, but it has a long way to go in sparking a firestorm in the emerging Internet of Things.
Plenty of home automation kits since the days of X-10 have had their brief day in the sun. Most lead quiet, limited lives confined to the dusty back shelves of hardware stores. Whether WigWag escapes a fate of obscurity to play a larger role in IoT remains to be seen.
The heart of the WigWag system is its sensor block. It includes eight environmental sensors including light, motion, temperature, and humidity sensors. It has an IR blaster to set up trip wires between sensor blocks, four control features, and analog and digital expansion ports.
The company says the block, driven by four AA batteries or a USB-power link, can be used for a wide variety of traditional and novel home-control tasks, from turning on sprinklers to detecting a break-in. It provides connectivity through a relay box to a WigWag cloud service and presumably relies on WiFi.
The WigWag Glowline is an eight-foot RGB LED lighting strip capable of generating 22,000 colors. It comes with its own power supply and is presumably controlled through a sensor block.
WigWag's first three products (from left) are a universal sensor, an LED light strip, and a relay box.
The startup's products are compatible with Phillips Hue light bulbs and Belkin WeMo outlets. WigWag has working versions of all the products, but the cloud service is so far in an internal-only beta test. An iPhone control app is up and running, and an Android version is in development.
The company won pledges totaling nearly $90,000 from 439 supporters as of the end of June, far above its $50,000 goal. Its campaign officially ends August 18.
WigWag aims to ship a variety of development systems, including boards for integrating with Arduino and Raspberry Pi kits, starting in November. Prices range from $119 to $249.
The WigWag hardware is based on the Contiki operating systems for 6LoWPAN. WigWag expects to provide software for the Arduino and Raspberry PI boards on Github, as well as details of its hardware designs when dev kits ship in November.
The tiny startup has considerable marketing savvy. But whether that will translate into a groundswell of interest remains to be seen.