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Insert Coin: Rowdy Robot creates Bluetooth 4.0 beacons that activate automatic alerts


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.

It's no secret that Bluetooth 4.0 is energy efficient, but now a startup called Rowdy Robot wants to use it for something rather less predictable than monitoring heart palpitations during your Tour de France training. A network of little beacons ("tōds") interacts with your iPhone or iPad and lets you receive movement-triggered alerts: like when your kid wanders too far, or when they finally return home after hanging out with the corner cartel. Many uses will be similar to NFC tags, but with the advantage of a vastly greater range of up to 500ft -- plus a single beacon can last for years on a single battery. Of course, it could also work with location-based services, triggering automatic updates as you pedal past the Arc de Triomphe -- but none of this will happen unless you check out the video after the break and help Rowdy Robot meet their $50,000 target.

Previous project update: With ten days to go and only $6,365 of their $26,400 goal, Lego Super Mario Bros. has a long way to go if they want to bring us a life-size level 1-1 from the classic NES title.

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