Like a lot of us, Jake Boshernitzan and Ohad Nezer are pretty excited to see what life is like when our home appliances connect to the Internet. But the way they see it, too many devices have a catch — they’re either too costly, too time consuming to install, or both.
They came up with a way to cut way down on interfaces, converting normal surfaces into sensors instead using a product they named Knocki. The device attaches to virtually any surface and detects vibrations using mechanical sensors, interpreting pre-programmed patterns of knocks to interact with your other devices over WiFi.
Boshernitzan explains it as a more intuitive approach to home automation. “What better way is there to control your surroundings than through your surroundings,” he said.
The device is about the size of a can of mixed nuts and can go anywhere from your front door to your refrigerator, or even under your nightstand, where you can program it to text you when someone arrives at your house or start your coffee maker when you wake up.
Boshernitzan says it’s the first product in the market to take this simplified approach, and judging by thousands of pre-orders for the device, the approach is working.
“It still has great functionality even in a full-fledged smart home,” he said. “Without the potential complexity or impact on the look of our homes.”
The company received funding during its time in Seed Sumo, an accelerator in College Station that accepts about 10 companies among thousands of applicants each year. That funding got Knocki’s prototype ready for marketing and manufacturing.
Now, the company is looking for a mobile app developer to collaborate with their hardware engineer in Austin. One of their next goals is making a software development kit to allow other manufacturers to integrate with Knocki.
Boshernitzan and Nezer are keeping an open mind about the future of their product.
“When you're developing a new product, you have to evaluate your fit in the market through testing,” Boshernitzan said. “Be willing to tweak your vision if you don't see a ‘spark’ so you can get on the right path before you're knee deep. When you've arrived at the right vision for your product, you'll know it.”
Pre-orders are available at the company’s website at 40 percent off until Sept. 28.