Separately, Hemphill gave a virtual tour inside the trio of products the startup will release in the fall -- a universal sensor block, a Web relay box, and an LED lighting strip. All three use the IEEE 802.15.4 radio and 6LoWPAN protocol from the Internet Engineering Task Force.
"IETF protocols almost always win out -- it's slowly happening -- but we also think IP-based WiFi devices will be big," Hempill said.
Startup LIFX snagged $1.3 million in an oversubscribed Kickstarter drive last November for its wireless LED lights that use 802.15.4. That helped validate WigWag's plans for the technology and for its own Kickstarter campaign, which is already blown past a much more modest goal.
WigWag's sensor block is run on a Freescale MC1322 SoC with an integrated 802.15.4 radio.
"We will evaluate a new version coming out later that has more memory, but we're OK with this one now because we use UDP not TCP and that saves us some memory," he said. "MCUs are getting smaller, faster and packing more memory which makes it easier to get in a full IP stack," he added.
"They had a really competitive product with great price/performance," said Hempill. "We looked at the Freescale i.MX28 series, but it was a little dated compared to the A10 and the higher end versions weren't right in our price/performance window," he said.
Although products won't ship until November, WigWag's ten-person staff in Austin and Wuxi, China developed ten board designs so far, testing out different SoCs. The company formally started operations two years ago on an undisclosed amount of investment capital.
"Home automation is almost a dirty word among some technophiles because it's been tried and tried again and hasn't taken off," said Hemphill in a call from his Austin office.
WigWag aims to deliver a platform simple to use for both consumers and developers. Its universal sensor blocks have a QR code and NFC tag users scan to open a smartphone app that sets up the block's functions.