Due to the uprising trend connecting all our devices and things that are around us, especially at our private homes or offices, two main questions came to my mind developing an IoT product.
Question one would be, what is the main reason to connect things with the internet? Mostly this decision is made because certain informations about the state of an object is needed without being in range of it. This information is usually determined by sensors that make a device or an object become "smart".
Question two is, do we really want to replace all the things we already own by completely new designed objects that cost way more and maybe don't even fit to their environment? And is it necessary to throw away all these objects, if we could also equip them with just the sensors and connect them to the internet?
Furthermore the so far developed smart home devices do not allow use cases that are not considered in their design. This led me to rethink the concept, to make them more open to users needs and to prevent the enormous amount of objects that have to be replaced, which implies tons of unnecessary waste to our environment.
The idea of Topics is to have a variety of different sensors that are provided with a wifi connection. In this use case an infrared sensor explains only one possibility, of course other Topics with other skills are available. For example a different Topic can measure humidity and temperature, another one is checking its position via GPS or its rotation through an accelerometer and so on. Part of the concept is also a simple and variable way to attach different sensors onto different surfaces. The shown vacuum cup can also be replaced with a magnet or a sticking surface, so a steady hold is always provided.
This variety enables users to find their very own use case, based on nothing but their individual problem or need. Without replacing a whole object, which might has a personal history to its owner, or that fits perfectly into the users living room, just to make it smart.
a simple example
You have a container of a certain size at a certain place, might be at home or at work - does not matter. What matters is, that the you need to know whether the container is full oder not for a certain reason, and this question occurs frequently and mostly when you are not in reach of the container.
Because you love your container and don't want to replace it with a new one of the few on the market, you decides to apply a Topic in the lid of your container which checks on the contents state through infrared. After the attachment you quickly calibrates the empty state of the container to know its depth and give it the name Coffee Container. After that, you refill the container with the coffee. Everything is easily managed and always accessible through your smartphone with the Topics application.
Now you are on your way to work, longing for a cup of coffee. You do also know, that you will not be the first one at the office, who will drink a coffee. So you just open the Topics app and check on the content of the previously set up Coffee Container.
The Topic inside of the container gets a request of your smartphones, measures its content through the infrared sensor and sends the result back to you. You now have a live information of the coffee supply and can easily decide to buy some on your way to work if its already out.
This is just a pretty simple and obvious example of what a Topic can be used for. Of course there is no limit to creativity and many more Topics can be set up for very different reasons and use cases. Their information can also be shared with others among the family, a household or at work. This projects is meant to empower the user to find a solution for its very own problem and despite its simplicity and small size, it can solve many big problems without replacing whole objects or products that already exist.