SKE Hub and One

A smart button that has a unique ID and is mapped on to a household commodity. A single press on the button sends an order requirement to a connected retailer shop.
- SKE Labs, Canada

Scope of work: R&D on developing a wireless button unit, low power system with deep sleep mode for longer standby time, interaction with Android app to broadcast data in real time, design and develop hardware and software for the system, design a casing for the unit, 3D print the casing.

A smart button connect to household devices was an interesting concept and relatively easy to build. The hardest part was the requirement to run it on a battery for 2-3 years without a requirement to charge it again. The team started working on analyzing low power systems available in the market and low power controller modules associated with it. Initial prototypes relied on a button cell base design which was later changed to a higher density Li Ion based system for its longer battery life and ability to be recharged. The business model also changed with this addition.

A new method to make sure that the users are not bothered about recharging the unit and can get the units for free was introduced. This prototype was roughly 5 x 5 x 1 cm in dimension. With a focus on increasing the life time of the unit, reducing the dimensions around 50% and lowering the power consumption, two different low power prototypes were also developed. One had a TI BLE SoC as the processing and wireless connectivity unit with dimension of 2.8 x 2.5 x .6 cm and the second one was built using a much more advanced Nordic BLE unit and custom designed balun-antenna interface. The dimension of this version was 2.2 x 2.2 x .5 cm. Both these units had a tactile button, 2 LEDs and an interface to update the firmware.