Smart home controller Welle lets users control devices through hand gestures

Smart home controller Welle lets users control devices through hand gestures
The current smart home market does not have clear leaders, nor standard method to control smart devices. Users may control devices through mobile apps, voice commands, or gestures.

A Hong-Kong-based team recently claimed to have launched the first IoT interaction controller, named Welle, powered by Sonar technology, allowing users to control smart hardware devices or software applications with simple drawing on tables or the ground.

For example, users may draw a line on the nightstand to dim the lamp, draw a circle on the table to activate the coffee machine, or draw lines with two fingers on the wall to draw the curtains.

The small cuboid-shape device uses Sonar technology to turn any surface into a controller. Sonar transmits signal pulses and collects the reflecting energy back from moving targets. And its embedded algorithm is able to collect and interpret information to identify motions and gestures from the echoed signals.

According to the company, the ultrasound technology has a meter-long detection range and consumes only milliwatts of power; therefore, lasts hours longer than other technologies under the same battery size, such as infrared, RF or radar. Sonar technology is already widely used, in military, automotive and drone applications.

After connecting Welle with smart devices via Bluetooth and set up gestures for each device in the mobile app, users are ready to control their smart home with drawing gestures. Besides gestures, characters such as alphabets and numbers one to nine are also supported.

Welle supports many smart devices and platforms, including Belkin Wemo, LIFX, IFTTT, Honeywell, Philips Hue, Sonos Wireless Speaker, Logitech, SwitchBot, SmartThings and Nest Thermostat. In the near future, the company will provide open API for third-party developers to redefine gestures and create customized ways to control smart home devices and applications.

The Welle project was launched on Kickstarter and reached its funding goal of US$20,000 in 21 hours. Shipping will start in October 2017 and retails at US$99.

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