In Insert Coin, we look at an exciting new tech project that requires funding before it can hit production. If you'd like to pitch a project, please send us a tip  with "Insert Coin" as the subject line.
Just a simple light switch, you say? Look closer. Think Automatic's Luminode dimmer switch hides both a processor and a mesh network connection that lets every switch in the home coordinate with each other. A multi-tap system makes it possible to link multiple lights together without extra wiring or complex programming, but that's just the start: it's possible to create "scenes" of predefined lighting levels and, with a USB adapter, hook up to home automation  systems (including Think Automatic's own) that can learn usage habits, track energy consumption or simply let us control the array with our smartphones. The platform uses raw XML to communicate and already talks to GE , Insteon  and Stargate hardware -- all without requiring a huge grid of buttons or displays.
Development of the Luminode is very nearly done after six-plus years of work in Seattle. The hardware is fundamentally ready and just needs the Kickstarter  project to finish its FCC and UL testing along with the obligatory mass production. The hope is to start delivering switches in January as well as integrate more closely with non-lighting elements in the future. Pledge levels are dictated almost exclusively by volume: $130 is what it takes to get a basic two-switch kit, $260 will add the USB adapter along with an extra switch, and successive levels scale all the way up to a 50-switch, $3,000 kit for large homes. Think Automatic has a relatively low $35,000 threshold to meet its Kickstarter funding, but it only has 13 days left to go. If you like the idea of advanced lighting that doesn't require an advanced appreciation of the user manual to understand, now's a good time to click the source link and make it happen.
Previous project update: The Stabil-i  iPhone camera case still has some distance to go, at $18,753 raised for its $80,000 target. There's more than three weeks left for pledges, however, so those who use their iPhones as semi-professional video cameras still have every opportunity to make the case a reality.
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August 07, 2012