At CES 2019, TechRepublic Senior Writer Teena Maddox spoke to Palo Alto Innovation CEO Alex Tramiel about how the Node-ify Axon sensor allows users to make everyday products in their home smarter. The following is an edited transcript of the interview.
The Node-ify Axon is the world's first multipurpose smart sensor. Now, you probably heard this before, it's not anything new, but there are a couple interesting things about this one.
First, this thing can actually disassemble, and you can put different expandable sensor boards in there. So we can put any sensor board we want, in the entire world, right there in the middle. We have a battery sensor board and a main board. The main board has a bunch of sensors built in— It can do motion, temperature, humidity, light; it's got touch on the top so you can use it as a button. It also has a speaker and a microphone, as well as a water leak detector on the bottom.
SEE: CES 2019 news, photos, videos, and more (TechRepublic on Flipboard)
But the story is a little strange, but you know, bear with me here. When I was a kid I was really bad at brushing my teeth, for whatever reason. I'm sure lots of people are. And my dad would walk up to my toothbrush and he'd feel my toothbrush, and he'd be like, "Alex this toothbrush is bone dry, you clearly didn't brush your teeth today." I'd be like no, you can't lie to your dad— it doesn't work. So I was trying to figure out a way on how to solve this, you know, how you could get some sort of notification, or something to know if your kid had brushed his teeth.
SEE: CES 2019 Special Coverage (CNET)
So I realized that if you had a relatively sensitive scale underneath some sort of sensor, it could tell if the toothbrush was in or out of the cup. And everyone will put their toothbrush back into a cup. But this is a super niche product and having a smart toothbrush holder is a little bit too niche, so we decide to expand it. So you don't need to just have a toothbrush holder— you can use this scale, and you can use it for your dogs water bowl or your cats food bowl. It can tell you when your cats food needs to be replaced, or you can even put your milk on top of it and know if you need to replace the milk.
You can put it underneath your office water cooler and know when the office water cooler needs to be replaced. You can also unscrew this sensor board. I can do that real quick. Unscrew this sensor board, and you can just use it as a motion security system, or leave it in a safe, and know when the safe is opened. You can even leave it in your server room for remote temperature monitoring.
SEE: CES 2019: The Big Trends for Business (ZDNet Special Feature)
So that's the Node-ify Axon. Notice I just took out that expandable sensor board and we're screwing this guy back together. This uses a wireless protocol called LoRa, stands for long range, and it has over a mile of range and over six months of battery life. And that hasn't been done much in the consumer space, basically at all. This really differentiates it. The other thing is we're trying to make this affordable for everyone. We're hoping to release this for under $30 per sensor, and less than $10 for each expansion board, and plan on having a small monthly service fee for the cloud service, our target is $5 a month, plus $1 per Axon. So that is the Node-ify Axon, and I hope you check it out.
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Teena Maddox is a Senior Writer at TechRepublic, covering hardware devices, IoT, smart cities and wearables. She ties together the style and substance of tech. Teena has spent 20-plus years writing business and features for publications including People, W and Women's Wear Daily.