The collection of available Internet of Things products is growing, and with each new connected device it seems we also get a new automation tool. In our smart homes of the not-so-distant future, we’ll need a way to easily automate and control the many smart gadgets in our lives. Welcome to the scene a discrete device called Microbot Push, a low-energy Bluetooth button-pusher that is being promoted as a robotic finger. Attach a Microbot Push to anything that turns on or off with a button, and you’re one step closer to a fully automated smart life.
The device is a plastic and filled with gears and a battery, so it’s not tiny. You have to stick it on each device you want controlled, but for something like a light switch, you’ll need two: one to push the toggle up and one to press it down.
Naran is the South Korean startup behind the Microbot Push, and they’re already a well established name in the Korean tech scene. They believe the product is hugely useful, if only by virtue of the many, many buttons we use to make most things work. The major force behind Microbot Push is the simple act of connecting our lives’ many buttons to the Internet.
Virtually anything operated by a button or switch can become a smart device with Microbot Push. The wireless robotic finger makes it easy to push any button remotely from a smartphone or computer, but also allows for manual activation through Microbot’s capacitive touch button (so if you ever get off the couch again, you’ll be able to push buttons like you used to). The Prota Box is a fully connected companion hub that allows the user to control any number of Microbots from anywhere, at any time. Microbots connect to the Prota Box over Bluetooth, and the Prota Box connects to your home Wi-Fi network. As long as you have an Internet-connected smartphone or mobile device, you’ll be able to control any Microbot-enabled button or switch in your home remotely.
The Prota Box also allows for easy integration with existing smart devices. “Automation stories” come out looking a lot like IFTTT recipes, and the Push mobile app walks users through a step-by-step process to control everything from espresso machines to light bulbs using automated formulas. Any Microbot device or automation story can be combined with the IFTTT Maker channel. At launch, the Push library will include integration with apps like Hue, WeMo, Pebble, and Netamo, and the company hopes to expand to include other automation apps so that Microbot Push and the Prota Box can become the central automation hub for smart homes.
Microbot Push launched their Indiegogo campaign this morning, and it’s already funded 29 percent of its $50,000 goal with total pledges of over $14,000 so far. An early bird pledge of $39 will earn backers a single Microbot Push, and a Beginner’s Kit includes a Prota Box and one Microbot for a pledge of $159. The super early bird starter kit costs $199 and earns backers a Prota Box and three Microbots.