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Kickstarter: Thermodo by Robocat - The Tiny Thermometer for Mobile Devices

Robocat, a Danish software studio co-founded by Michael Flarup and Willi Wu, has been building unique digital products out of Copenhagen for the last 3 years. They’ve created several weather-related apps like Outside, Ultraviolet, Thermo and Haze, which was featured by Apple as Editor’s Choice a few weeks ago.

Today, Robocat launched a Kickstarter project based on weather – but this time as hardware, not software. It’s called Thermodo. Thermodo is a tiny electrical thermometer that lets you measure the temperature in the exact location where you are by using a piece of hardware that connects to the headphone jack on your mobile device. It’s for iPhone, iPad, Android & more. They’re looking to get $35,000 in 33 days to pay for the further development of Thermodo.

Thermodo consists of a passive temperature sensor built into a standard 4 pole audio jack enclosed by a sturdy housing. This allows your mobile device to read Thermodo’s temperature straight from the audio input. Thermodo sends an audio signal through the temperature sensor. This sensor will then attenuate the signal amplitude depending on the actual temperature. This attenuation can now be detected on the microphone input and through software we calculate the corresponding temperature. Easy peasy! We call this the Thermodo Principle™. Simply plug Thermodo into your device and start the companion app or any other Thermodo enabled apps of your choice. The temperature reading takes place instantly. Thermodo is powered by your device. No external power is required, it can even run in the background while you do important stuff.

You can measure the temperature indoors as well as outdoors. Track the temperature and see how it rises after you turned on the radiator or check how the temperature drops during a summer night. No network connection required. Thermodo comes with a neat little keyring so you’ll always have it with you.

Video and more after the break.

Along with Thermodo’s hardware comes software. Robocat is working on a companion app that will run on iOS and Android. Thermodo will already work with Thermo and Haze, since they are Robocat apps. They are also making an open source software developer kit (SDK) available to anyone who wants to build their own Thermodo integration into their apps.

So why does a successful design firm like Robocat need to start a Kickstarter project? Well, building hardware is expensive. They’ve done as much work as possible and spent a lot of their own money on prototypes, but actual production will need molds, components and factory time. Here’re some of the specifics:

  • Sensors, Resistors and PCB’s - the components that make up the brain of Thermodo.
  • Injection Molds - to manufacture the housing of Thermodo.
  • Thermal conductive filling - makes your Thermodo more responsive.
  • Tooling, manufacturing and assembly - the actual production is a highly specialized series of steps.
  • App development - most of your funds won’t go here, they are working weekends and pouring time into the project to get both the iOS companion app and the SDK ready, but the team will occasionally need a cup or coffee or a pizza.
  • Shipping and packaging - getting the new Thermodos to you, wherever you are.

The Robocat team have even included a very informational timeline to let backers know the current state of the project, here’s the graphic:

So after taking in all this information, how can you help back this project? Well, for starters, visit the Kickstarter page and check out all the full details. Pledges start at $1 but to get yourself a Thermodo it will cost a minimum of $25. $999 will get you a visit to Copenhagen and $2,999 will get you a partnership into the project. There seems to be a lot of interest in this project already: as I am finishing this post, Robocat have already received over $25,000 with over 750 backers. That is a phenomenal start and looks like they may have the project backed in less than 1 day. So if you think this is a Kickstarter project you may be interested in, please visit the Kickstarter page and get your piece of Thermodo’s future.

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