Ubi – Voice Activated Convenience
So don’t screw up and call The Ubi Siri’s illegitimate step child. This thing can do a lot and then some. Right now the item is on Kickstarter and has cleared/destroyed its $36,000 goal and is currently hovering around the $230k mark.
Using your hands is… well it’s stupid. Nobody wants to work. We’re from America and as Americans it is our god given right to be lazy if we want to be. Too busy making dinner and you want to hear the latest email you received? Don’t worry, Ubi is all over it. Want to search the internet for a recipe while you are cooking that amazing dinner? Ubi can do it.
How does this really apply to guys though other than being tech? Imagine you are playing xbox and getting ready to finally beat the last stage in the newest Halo. Without having to move or even look in the direction of Ubi, you can have it search for the nearest strip club (what better way to celebrate Call of Duty domination) while you continue to play. Just be careful that your girlfriend doesn’t hear.
According to Kickstarter, Ubi can do the following (via voice obviously):
Ubi can also integrate with another popular Kickstarter project called Nest (a popular energy saving smart phone integrated thermostat). You can contribute to the Ubi on KickStarter.
Gadgets 4 Guys was lucky enough to land an interview with the Ubi CEO and Co-Founder Leor Grebler. Leor took a few minutes to chat with us about the Ubi and give us some more details on the amazing features the Ubi holds. Enjoy!
So tell us a little more about the history of Ubi and how the idea even came to fruition.
The three of us are huge technology enthusiasts with backgrounds in robotics, haptics, and aerospace engineering and we’d alway meet and discuss what the future would look like. We’d be inspired by ideas like the singularity or mind machine interfaces. We’d be thinking that the future is going to be this much more exciting and effortless type of of existence where people feel that their existence in much more natural.
Over the past two years, we started to see some amazing ideas start to come out by entrepreneur minded individuals like ourselves. The barriers for developing some very innovative ideas were coming down and small groups were able to pull off amazing projects on sites like IndieGogo or Kickstarter and this motivated us to start seeing if we could put some of our ideas into reality.
The Ubi came from our discussions around being surrounded seamlessly with computing and being able to control the environment and access information non-intrusively. We toyed with several different ideas until we arrived at the current concept. After exploring the possibility further, we realized that the technology was just arriving to make the Ubi a reality. Even looking back a year ago, voice recognition was pretty frustrating and more recently, the tools to make the Ubi have come down in cost and complexity.
Not having access to a lot of capital we decided to bootstrap and make a prototype of the device to see if there was a market for it, which is how we came to Kickstarter.
Ubi was a KickStarter featured project. Can you give us some insight into how that process started and how it went?
Early in the development of the Ubi, we knew we wanted to go to Kickstarter to raise the funds to complete the device. We spent a lot of time looking over other Kickstarter projects, seeing what worked with successful projects and why some projects failed.
The first thing was preparing our prototype and getting to a stage in the development where we had the confidence that if we received funding, we’d be able to pull this off. That took a tremendous amount of time and effort as we went through many design iterations.
The next step was creating the Kickstarter video. This actually took a ton of time and many takes. We aren’t professional video makers by any means, so it was a lot of learning. Finally, it was putting together the campaign. We made sure that just before launch and after that we would work as hard as we could to get the word out about our project.
Outside the features we see on the video, can you tell us some more unique and cool commands that Ubi can complete?
One of the coolest features and probably most useful is as an always-available scribe. Making a note-to-self is so invaluable. Being able to have something always available to answer basic questions is also very cool.
Not necessarily a command but a feature is the monitoring and triggering that can be setup with the Ubi. You can program a variety of triggers based on the what the sensors (ambient light, air pressure, ambient noise, and temperature) pick up.
Another item we didn’t show on the video was the ability to setup an intercom-type system. This can be used to monitor rooms, like a baby monitor, or as a way of communicating between two rooms. Except with this intercom, the receivers don’t have to be in the same house or even continent.
I’m guessing that you have your own Ubi (or have used it on a regular basis). What task do you use the Ubi for the most?
We’re using our prototype Ubis mostly for internet searches or for setting appointments and alarms. We’ve setup some triggers for turning on power outlets on and off. Being able to look up information really quickly without having to find a phone or computer has been really helpful.
Where do you see the future of Ubi going?
We see an Ubi or a future variant in every room of every home. We imagine that every environment will be “aware” and we’ll be able to communicate with it naturally. We also see the Ubi as a platform to connect with continually improving AI engines and start to have a personality in some sense.