Out of the Ashes

My most recent update from last fall was entitled “The End of the Line for the Luminode”. Thank you so much to our backers for the many kind words of support, condolences, and encouragement. I can’t tell you how much that means. Thank you.

The good news today though is that despite my last update, the Luminode lives on! I am pleased to announce that we are finalizing a merger agreement with the innovative home automation startup called Otto. http://buildotto.com

We have already begun making design modifications to the Luminode in order to finally put these hardware challenges to rest and resubmit for UL approval once again later this year. Together as Otto we believe we are in position to finally knock this out of the park through our shared common vision of bringing home automation into the mainstream.

Although my offer of refunds to Luminode backers and pre-orders still stands, I am pleased to offer in lieu of a refund a comparable Otto DIY starter kit once available later this year. Whichever you choose there is no action to take now. Individual followups to come later.

Thank you for your continuing patience and support!

– Team Otto

The End of the Line for the Luminode

Back in 2005 I had the start of an idea that I believed could help spread the promise and benefit of home automation around the world. I believed it so much that I would spend the next decade working towards making it a reality.

The idea makes installation and setup of home automation extremely quick and simple. It works by the automation system programming itself via a machine learning algorithm built out of a database management system.

Early on I saw that it could work. However, for it to work to its full potential it needed quick accurate feedback from people in their homes. And there was one device that could serve that purpose that was familiar, ubiquitous and that everyone knew how to use it. And that was something that looked and acted like a light switch.

Unfortunately back at that time the available existing networked light switches were not designed to work well with a learning system like this. After unsuccessfully trying to persuade the manufacturers to make modifications to their products I decided to embark on a journey to build the right light switch.

I first contacted local hardware designers and builders back in 2008. Since then the team of engineers, partners and friends has evolved until finally we were able to nearly reach a UL approved Luminode, twice. It is a device I will always be proud of and I hope everyone who was a part of it will always be proud of it. These tiny computers each have about 8,000 lines of code running on them with more features and capabilities than need to be explained again here.

But it turns out that building a smart, electronic dimmer switch on a shoestring budget is a very difficult task. And to drive that home I have just learned that the Luminode will not receive UL approval once again after failing what’s called the limited short circuit test.

It is with a heavy heart that I have realized I no longer have enough remaining financial and emotional fortitude to repeat this difficult process of re-designing, re-building and re-testing the Luminode.

I will be following up individually with each and every Kickstarter backer and other people with pre-orders placed to make sure you receive a refund. Please be patient, it will take some time to gather the funds and to get to everyone.

Steve Harris

Two steps closer to Luminode UL Approval, but a new snag as well…

We received the good news is that UL has approved our air-gap switch implementation without additional hardware modification! We also have passed the LED/CFL bulb overload test and the LED/CFL bulb endurance testing began today.

Unfortunately we also learned that we had 2 out of 3 Luminodes that did not pass what’s called the limited short test. This is a very harsh test in which the Luminodes are subjected to 1000 Amps of current! The samples that were used for this test are being shipped from UL’s Northbrook, Illinois facility to their facility in San Jose for additional analysis in hopes that we can find a workable solution by early next week.

Although it seems like the UL finish line keeps moving just out of reach, we are gaining on it. This is new territory for UL as well as us and they are pulling out all the stops to help us reach our UL Listing, for which we are very grateful.

As always thank you for you continuing patience and support.

– Team Think Automatic

Luminode UL Update

UL has now received the test equipment needed to perform the LED and CFL bulb related tests and they expect to begin those tests before the end of this week. Meanwhile UL also tells us that the limited-short circuit test and plastic component tests are in process and expect to give us at least preliminary results sometime next week. We are optimistic for a positive outcome for all of those tests.

There is one test however that has run into an unexpected obstacle that hinges on how one of the UL specs is interpreted with respect to what is called the air-gap switch test. We are confident that our implementation of the air-gap switch meets the safety objective of this feature, perhaps even more effectively than many other products on the market. However, because of the Luminode’s unique design it is not clear what UL sub-classification it falls into, and consequently what version of this test is to be applied. Depending on UL’s pending determination they could require us to make additional hardware modifications before granting approval. We are working closely with UL to hopefully be able to resolve this issue without further design modification.

As always thank you for your patience and support.

– Team Think Automatic

Luminode UL Approval Status

We had hoped to be completed with Luminode UL testing by the end of last week while I was at the UL facility in person assisting and witnessing the tests. Although the tests so far have all passed, the testing process is turning out to be taking longer than anticipated and is now expected to be completed by the end of next week (Friday September 12th).

Of course we would prefer to already have testing completed, but for how long a project the Luminode is, eight days is right around the corner!

As always thank you for your patience and support.

– Steve of Team Think Automatic

Luminodes Pass Every UL Test Performed This Week! Only a Few More Tests To Go…

I’m finishing up my last day this week at the UL facility in New York and although there are still a few more tests left to perform, the Luminodes passed all of the tests run this week! We were hoping to be finished with all of the testing by the Labor Day Weekend, but at least we are close.

The most significant remaining tests are the LED Bulb Tests (overload, endurance, & temperature) and the Limited Short Circuit Tests. We are optimistic that the Luminodes will pass those tests, but obviously we won’t know for sure until afterwards and hopefully soon.

In the meantime I wish everyone a happy and safe Labor Day Weekend! And thank you to everyone for your continuing patience, encouragement, and support!

– Steve of Team Think Automatic

Luminodes Pass UL Endurance Test!

It’s the end of my third day at UL this week and what a long day it has been! After a few disagreements with the robot that turned six of the Luminodes on and off 10,000 times, it finally got the job done and the Luminodes have now officially passed both the incandescent bulb endurance and overload tests!

UL still has more tests to run but so far the Luminodes are working like champs! We could have incandescent bulb temperature test results by end of day tomorrow or beginning of the day Friday. Meanwhile UL is running all sorts of other small (and some weird) tests all of which we are passing!

I’m hopeful that we still could have incandescent approval by the end of this week, but LED bulb approval is looking like it may take a little longer. On the plus side, incandescent bulb approval would be sufficient to go into production even if official LED approval comes later.

As always thank you for your patience and support! We are finally getting really really close!

– Team Think Automatic

PS – Here is a shot of a bunch of front-side-down Luminodes waiting to be put through their various tests…


Luminodes Pass UL Overload Test! Endurance Test Still Running…

I’m here at UL getting started on day two of a full week of Luminode testing. Yesterday the Luminode passed the overload testing and the endurance test is currently running in which six Luminode samples are turned on and off 10,000 times! That test will likely take until early tomorrow morning to complete, but meanwhile we will be conducting some of the many other tests that still need to be run. To keep current on our progress please follow us on Twitter.

Luminodes could be UL approved very soon!

– Steve of Team Think Automatic

Luminode UL Testing to be Completed by Labor Day!

The Luminode is scheduled with UL for approval testing for the last week in August. If all goes well we will have UL approval less than three weeks from now!

Although this has been a very long time coming, in many ways it is just the beginning. We couldn’t be more excited at the prospect of finally getting both the Luminodes and our cutting edge learning system out into the world and into your hands!

For a taste of the power and simplicity of the Luminodes working with our learning system please check out our latest demo if you haven’t yet. There will be plenty more demos ahead as more and varied things become cohesive components of the learning and thinking home of the future!

As always thank you for your patience and support!

– Team Think Automatic

Smart Grid For the Home