Genius is rarely recognized in its time, which was certainly true for the Clapper of '90s as-seen-on-TV fame. While the idea of controlling home appliances with claps of the hand might have seem absurd to a pre-Internet of Things audience, the deluge of smart home products has made simple and intuitive ways to control them all a necessity for retailers.
Enter Knocki, the Clapper for the IoT age.
In an interview with WIRED, Knocki CEO Jake Boshernitzan outlined the specs behind the hockey-puck-shaped device. Rather than relying on smartphones or smart home dashboards, Knocki can translate taps or, well, knocks on any surface it's attached to. For example, Boshernitzan said that users could program a Knocki device to turn their TVs off when they tap a coffee table three times. The device isn't just a souped-up remote control, though Boshernitzan explained that users with smart locks can use Knocki to swap keys and codes out for secret knocks or gestures to enter their homes.
And perhaps the most important lesson Knocki learned from its clapping predecessor: It won't confuse random contact for actual inputs.
“Our patents cover various aspects of the technology, and one of them is differentiating intentional gestures from random vibrations in the environment,” Bosherniztan told WIRED. “We look at the intensity of the vibration and the period of time between the taps. If I were to tap three times quickly, all the taps have a very similar intensity. Even in a noisier environment, it can filter out things like putting a glass on a table or putting your elbow down.”
Knocki devices are ostensibly being aimed at the consumer electronics market, but Boshernitzan also hinted at possible partnerships with furniture and car manufacturers that could see the tech behind Knocki integrated into those products.