Digital World Native

The ‘Welle’ uses sonar to turn any surface into smart interface

This cigarette lighter-sized device claims to be quite revolutionary. Using it, one can turn practically any surface into a “smart” one. It relies on sonar & a sensitive touchless gesture control algorithm to control IoT (Internet of Things) hardware devices or software apps via Bluetooth & without complicated setup.

Controlling household or office smart appliances usually needs you to use remotes, & if you’ve got more than 1, the situation can quickly become complicated & messy. The Welle’s advanced gesture control, based on embedded radar that detects gestures & motion, & its Bluetooth connectivity, changes all that. 

Any smart device that has Bluetooth connectivity, like TVs, lights, doors, speakers, thermostats, cameras, fans, curtains… can be set up to be controlled by Welle. Gestures such as touch, swipe, & words or numbers drawn on any surface, can be assigned to actions.

It’s an interface that’s reminiscent of augmented reality (AI). In fact, Welle uses a companion iOS or an Android app to assign gestures & devices to be controlled together with the appropriate actions. You define custom gestures & map them to specific functions in the devices.

No physical contact is needed to be made with Welle device to initiate control of other devices. It uses sonar, which are safe ultrasonic waves, using echoes that bounce back from targets. It then collects the echoes with its sensitive sensing area & translates them into instructions which are sent to IoT devices, using Welle’s advanced hardware design & software algorithms.

The use of both ultrasonic sonar tech & Bluetooth means that Welle consumes much less power, & thus has much longer battery life than alternate methods like infrared optic sensors that are used by other controllers. It’s also usable in low light conditions that don’t work well with infrared.

You can even set characters & numbers, which you can write with a finger on any surface that’s near to Welle controller, to control IoT devices’ functions. The device also comes with an API & a developer community is in place, so that developers can take advantage of Welle for their particular device or software product.

The Welle is under development by Shenzhen, China-based startup Maxus tech, who have a successful Kickstarter campaign under way & expect to ship product in October 2017. At present you can pledge US $69 on their Kickstarter page to get an “Early Bird” Welle (a 30% savings off the eventual retail price).