The Internet of things, or IoT, is a burgeoning sector in the Boston tech scene, as several startups are utilizing the complex technology for different products and/or services.
CliQ is a year-old startup that is taking this technology and creatively putting it into a consumer electronics product: a sensor that can be applied to everyday life.
CliQ’s two creators, Greg Barchard and Jackson Maier, were working at BioSensics, where they were developing detection devices for medical purposes. Some of the products they’ve worked on were fall detection and physical therapy sensors for recovering stroke victims. The two noticed how this technology could be used in different situations and had an idea to spin-off from BioSensics with their own sensor product.
“When we started off, we asked ‘What can we do, what do people want, and what can this product mean to someone?’” Maier said. “We noticed there were a ton of different solutions, and it was a crowded space.”
Maier and Barchard wanted to create a sensor that could solve problems in several aspects of a user’s life. CliQ was founded based on this idea, and the duo began developing a prototype. Since they had access to sensor software and technology, building a product was not as difficult as it could have been.
CliQ’s devices are connected to a user’s smartphone through Bluetooth, and from there, a user can set up and customize what the sensors do. Barchard describes these as blueprints for the device.
“There are different features that can be set up through the app,” Barchard said, describing the internal workings of the CliQ product. “For starters, there are triggers, which can be preprogrammed with certain actions, and then the actions can create notifications for the user.”
Their prototype, which is a small, white square, was tested in situations relating to their own personal lives. Barchard used the sensor to notify him when his young daughter would wake up in the middle of the night. Maier, on the other hand, took a more lighthearted approach.
“I guess I was coming from a younger mindset,” Maier chuckled. “I put the CliQ sensor on a bottle of my dad’s whiskey and set up notifications for his phone. So, that way, he could see whenever someone was tapping into his stash.”
Taking into account their own personal uses, the two founders have found that CliQ can be used for multiple situations in someone’s personal life. For example, if someone is trying to stop snacking, they can place a sensor on a cabinet or fridge door, and have the notifications tell the user to stop snacking.
“It can also be used for security purposes,” said Barchard. “Users can input how long they want the sensor to monitor an object.”
Since the CliQ sensors can be utilized for a variety of use cases, it would be interesting to hear what blueprints users can create. In the spirit of this, the company wants to include a network of users in its mobile app. Barchard thinks users would want to spread their ideas with other CliQ users and what kind of solutions they have come up with.
“Why not make it shareable?” Barchard asked. “Other people can go into the community on the app, see others’ blueprints, and immediately apply it to their own CliQ.”
Since the two are first-time founders, they wanted their company to have a good name, which they found to be a rather difficult process.
“We struggled with a name,” said Maier. “We were thinking of using the term, ‘IQ,’ and wrote a bunch of names in a hat that had ‘IQ’ in the title. CliQ just stuck with us. It also lends itself to a few corny puns.”
IoT is a complex technology, but it is implemented in several everyday life devices. CliQ looks to create a solution with IoT that can be applied to a variety of everyday life situations. Situated in Watertown, Barchard, Maier and the rest of their newly formed team are launching their Kickstarter today for this unique sensor.
Or is it a CliQstarter?