Ube seeks crowdfunding for Wi-Fi-controlled light dimmer

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An Austin, Texas, startup called Ube is trying to raise $700,000 on Indiegogo so it can develop a Wi-Fi-controlled light dimmer, the first in a line of what the company hopes will be IP-based electrical products.

Ube's Smart Dimmer replaces a typical light switch. It includes a 32-bit ARM microprocessor running Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android OS and links to a local Wi-Fi network's SSID, allowing it be remotely controlled via a smartphone, whether a person is onsite or away.

The company said an accompanying application will run on Android and Apple's iPhone (NASDAQ:AAPL). The application will first be made available for download from the App Store next quarter when the dimmers also become available. Ube said it will publish an open API for developers who want to create apps to control the smart dimmer.

The company is selling versions of its Smart Dimmer for $49 to $69 on Indiegogo. Not only can the multiple dimmers communicate with each other to control lights across a room or entire house, they can also be set to create customized lighting effects, such as "party," "dinner," all-on" or "all-off." Each dimmer includes metering to report energy usage for each light switch.

Ube's website reveals it further intends to launch a Wi-Fi-enabled smart plug, which inserts into an existing electrical outlet and can also be controlled remotely from a smartphone. The smart plug, which also allows dimming of a lamp plugged into it, would provide energy usage stats for any device plugged into it, said Ube.

In addition, an envisioned Ube smart outlet could replace an existing outlet and allow remote control of any device plugged into it. Like the smart plug, the smart outlet would include an energy meter to track energy consumed by any device plugged into the outlet.

Ube was founded in April 2012. The startup has attracted $300,000 in seed funding and also snagged $1 million as the winner of the People's Choice Award at the DEMO conference in October 2012.

Ube's app will work with Belkin's Internet-connected WeMo light switch plus Wi-Fi-connected TVs, consoles and other devices, Glen Burchers, Ube co-founder and CMO, told GigaOM. He said a customer might use the app to automatically dim the lights when the TV is switched on or raise or lower the air conditioning when their Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Kinect is switched on for a yoga session.

In September, the Wi-Fi-enabled LiFx (pronounced life-ex) LED light bulb attracted crowdfunding of $1,314,542 for its Aussie creators via Kickstarter

For more:
- see this indiegogo campaign page
- see this Ube release
- see this GigaOM article

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