When you first look at it, the Node looks like a mini flashlight that seems to be ridiculous for a $149 price point but in reality is a sensor that can measure almost ANYTHING. This article written by Julianne Pepitone is basically a review of all these functions that a Node can do. The first function that I found interesting was the ability to test surface temperatures through a laser sensor, you can check if you have a fever simply by pointing a laser at your head and the temperature pops up at you. This is probably really useful for ghost hunters in cases which temperature jumps based off where the supernatural are. Another sensor called Chroma seems to be the answer for those inquisitive people searching for a color. Basically how it works is that if you put the sensor on top of a color, it tells you what color it is with a 99.99% accuracy. Now you will finally know what a true red really is! But in reality, if you forget what color you painted your walls and wish to repaint, this is a perfect tool to help you find your way. Another sensor that you can add on to this remarkable device is Oxa, a tool that can give you the amount of carbon monoxide in the air along with amount of chlorine or hydrogen gas. This really is quite a breakthrough in the consumer electronic world.
Variable Tech, the company behind Node, refers to its creation as “the Swiss Army knife of sensors.” The base model, which sells for $149, can be coupled with add-on sensors to record data about moisture, colors, temperatures and more.
Node is the project of George Yu, a former contractor at NASA and the Department of Homeland Security whoused Kickstarter to raise $76,000. That cash funded the first manufacturing run for his Chattanooga, Tenn., company.
The Node is now in full production, and Yu showed it off at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (CES) last week.
“It’s a highly flexible, advanced, sophisticated tool that will advance as time goes by,” Yu said.
He’s right — but that complexity makes Node a bit confusing to explain. The $149 entry-level Kore module is the size and shape of a roll of quarters. It includes the basic Node components: an accelerometer, magnetometer and gyroscope, plus a battery and 2 MB of memory.
Users can buy extra sensors to use Node in other ways: to test hot cooking surfaces, measure motions, or blast a bright light.
Node pairs with Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) iOS devices through a Bluetooth connection, and uses Variable’s official app (or third-party apps that use the company’s integration hooks) to display, record, and email the data. Android support is forthcoming.
So far, the base Kore and five extremely varied sensors are available.
Kore: The unit’s 3-axis sensors — gyroscope, magnetometer and accelerometer — each maps to a graph on Node’s app that updates in near real-time.
Yu showed off the motion-sensing power of the accelerometer during his demo: He gripped the Node, and an animated block on the app moved in tandem with the slightest twitch of his hand. It could be used as a motion-based remote control, he suggested, or by physical therapists to test their patients’ fine motor skills.
Node can be set to alert users when it starts or stops moving. Put it on top of your dryer and it can send you a message when the cycle is done.
Chroma: The $75 Chroma sensor screws onto the Node and captures “true colors” with 99.99% accuracy. See a color that you’d love to paint on your wall? Place the Node against the item, and the Chroma sensor will spit out the color values in CMYK and other formats.
A third-party app will show you the closest paint swatch from brands like Behr and Martha Stewart.
Therma: The Therma, which also sells for $75, uses an infrared sensor to check the temperature of items that can’t be touched or reached: the heat of heavy machinery, or areas of the home that may be poorly insulated.
Clima: This $50 sensor detects barometric pressure, ambient light, wind speed, temperature, and humidity. A hiker can check her elevation while moving up a mountain, or a contractor could test the humidity level in a client’s basement.
Luma: Node bills the Luma as a “state-of-the-art flashlight” that uses eight LED lights. Users can select how many lights to turn on and assign them a flashing pattern. It’s not nearly as varied as the other sensors, but it’s also significantly cheaper at $25.
Oxa: Yu wasn’t able to demo the Oxa at CES: It’s an industrial-grade gas sensor. The default Oxa, priced at $149, senses carbon monoxide. Other, separate sensors detect chlorine, nitric oxide, hydrogen and other gases. They’re currently available for pre-order and should ship in 3-4 weeks.