Sense Smart Home Hub Project Canceled, Company Issues Refunds To Kickstarter Backers

A crowdfunded project has died a premature but dignified death. Is such a thing even possible? The company behind a successful Kickstarter campaign for a smart home hub decided not to make hardware, after learning that other device makers were interested in their software. The company, Silk Labs, announced that it would refund users’ pledges and not make the device.

The hub was sold as a device that would use facial recognition to identify people and pets in your house, serving as both a security feed and a hub for smart devices. If you’re home alone and like the temperature a few degrees warmer than the rest of the household, the device would know both of those things and tell your Nest thermostat. It could also communicate with app-controlled lighting and speaker systems.

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The software behind the Sense apparently sounded so great to other companies that Silk Labs isn’t going to bother to make its own hub and camera device at all. In an update on the Kickstarter page, CEO and co-founder Andreas Gal shared the bad news, which could also be good news for the company, which now doesn’t have to produce any actual hardware when they only raised $164,885.

“Our original plan was to launch a Kickstarter product first (Sense), and then work with commercial-scale hardware manufacturers on integrating Silk into their future products,” Gal wrote. “We are now seeing so much commercial interest in the Silk platform that we have realized we can bring our vision to more people more quickly if we switch gears and focus on the commercial opportunities ahead, instead of completing our Kickstarter device first.”

That means the cool features will still be commercially available, just using other companies’ devices. At least the project came to a dignified end.

Ex-Mozilla team behind smart home hub Sense refunds Kickstarter backers, focuses on software (via Fast Company)
Sense: The intelligent camera and hub for your modern home[Kickstarter]