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Insert Coin semifinalist: Observos environmental monitoring sensors hands-on (video)

Brad Molen
03.16.13
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We first heard about Observos a month ago when it became a participant in our Insert Coin semifinals, but it wasn't until the Hexagonal Research product showed up at Engadget Expand that we were able to see working models of its environmentally aware sensors. Each sensor, which is shaped like a hexagon and is about twice as thick as a hockey puck, is capable of monitoring the temperature, humidity and barometric pressure of virtually any object you can think of. For indoor sensors, a small screen on top displays the desired information of the item you're monitoring, but there's no need to keep a close eye on it -- the information can be relayed to a web interface by communicating wirelessly with a base station hooked into your router. (Outdoor sensors are more rugged to handle external weather conditions and don't have a display screen.

You can program the setup to alert you via email or text if something is awry, regardless of where you are, and you'll be able to monitor everything directly from your smartphone; in the future, Observos hopes to expand into a control network that would give you the ability to make changes to environmental conditions remotely. In other words, if your plants get low on moisture, you'd be able to program a flow valve to open automatically.

While the company's Expand booth featured only six sensors, up to 40 could be used simultaneously. The Observos team plans to launch its Kickstarter campaign this coming Monday, and backers can grab one indoor sensor and base station together for $175, with the price going up as more sensors are added; outdoor sensors will be a bit more spendy as well. A hacker's board will also be available at $75 for anyone who just wants to tinker around with the goods. Check out our video and full image gallery below for another look.

Gallery: Insert Coin:Observos Hands On | 7 Photos

Steve Dent and Richard Lai contributed to this post.

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