NODE turns your smartphone into any kind of sensor you need sensed

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What if your smartphone did more than access a bunch of cheap video games and apps designed to get you jealous over what your friends are doing? What if it could access the world around you and make subtle and sharp observations about what it was seeing? What if, in short, your smartphone could be a Tricorder from Star Trek? Well, according to a company called Variable Technologies, that dream could very soon become a reality. Set smartphone phasers to stun.

The company, along with its CEO Dr. George Hu, has designed the NODE, a wonder gadget that may look like a little LED flashlight but is actually so much more. It’s designed to operate as a series of sensors that interact with your smartphone. What can these, well, nodes do? Just about anything they are designed to do. For example, the KORE module consists of a triaxial accelerometer, magnetometer and gyroscope and can measure physical motion in space and orientation. The CLIMA module measures anything clime-based. This also includes building efficiency, house inspection and home automation controls. The THERMA measures the temperature of things, even human beings. No more heading to the doctor just to see if you have a fever. There are even more modules than described here, with more on the way.

The designer formerly plied his trade at NASA and the Dept of Homeland Security so you know these are the real deal. The company received funding for the NODE via Kickstarter. They obliterated their funding goal, of course. Once these launch it’ll cost $150 for the NODE itself and then $25-$75 for each additional module you want to add on. The whole thing comes with an open framework so who knows what third party module-makers will come up with in the future?