As more devices join the Internet of Things, products such as Homey and Nuimo have been anticipating a demand for alternative, screen-less interfaces — those which enable users to interact with their smart homes through touch or voice, instead of requiring them to be constantly looking at their screens. Another such device is Knocki, a battery-powered disc, which transforms any surface into a smart communication tool — translating up to ten knocking patterns into commands for the user’s smart home.
To begin, users place Knocki on a convenient surface — this can be a door, kitchen countertop, bedside table or anything else. Knocki then connects to the users smartphone via wifi, which enables the user to program in their desired commands using the companion app. They choose which tasks they want to program and design their own memorable knocking sequences, as well as an activation knock, which awakens the device and causes it to communicate with the cloud. Knocki works by sensing vibrational patterns on the surface using an accelerometer-based system. The startup behind the device has a range of suggested uses, for example, two knocks on the living room wall could skip the current song, or five quick fire knocks on the bedside table could set the coffee brewing.
As with IFTTT — the application that allows users to exercise their creativity in automating certain online activities — possibilities are endless. Knocki is currently available for pre-order for USD 59 and is expected to launch later this year. Are there other physical interfaces that could help users interact with their smart devices more enjoyably?