MESH project gains more momentum with crowdfunding campaign and U.S. showings [video]

Imagine having your plants watered automatically once a day, or adding a voice to your favorite stuffed animal. Both kids and adults can build these and other inventions with MESH, an easy-to-use, creative DIY kit that uses wireless smart tags pre-programmed with various functions. Read on to learn about the MESH project, latest activities, and where to see MESH next.

Takehiro Hagiwara

MESH project leader, Takehiro Hagiwara.

According to MESH project leader, Takehiro Hagiwara, “MESH has built up a large following in Japan, and we’re eager to build up similar awareness and popularity of MESH globally. We want to give both kids and adults around the world the opportunity to become inventors through MESH!”  First introduced in May last year, the MESH project continues its progress as a prototype to product, with planned showings in the U.S., along with a recently- launched MESH crowdfunding page on Indiegogo.

MESH events in the U.S. and beyond
The MESH team kicked off 2015 with exhibits at the Eureka Park pavilion and the main Sony booth at CES in Las Vegas, where they demoed the product and introduced new use cases, including an automatic watering machine and a robot paired with sound effects.

MESH water use case

MESH use case – automatic watering machine – shown at CES 2015.

Following CES, the MESH team travelled to Silicon Valley where they hosted a presentation on January 16 at Hacker Dojo, an innovation center for building robots, business and hosting events. There, Akifumi Yamazaki, a MESH project member, led a hands-on demo of MESH tags and instruction on the MESH canvas, which allows for drag-and-drop programming of MESH tags.

MESH at Hacker Dojo

MESH presentation at Hacker Dojo in Silicon Valley.

The road show continues in March with a stop at SXSW, the annual music, film, and interactive conference festival held in Austin, Texas. The MESH team plans to show off the product here, since the interactive part of the event focuses on emerging, creative technologies. Outside the U.S., the MESH team will hold also hackathon in Tokyo later this month.

Help fund the MESH project on Indiegogo
The MESH project is currently seeking crowdfunding on Indiegogo with a goal of raising $50,000 USD. From now until March 7, 2015, you can pre-order your own MESH kit or contribute funds to the MESH project. Kits range from 1 MESH tag for $45 USD, a Basic Set with 3 MESH tags for $119 USD, to an Advanced Set with 4 MESH tags for $169. An early bird Basic Set is available for $105. The estimated delivery is May 2015. Shipping is only available to US and Japan.  The full list of available kits is listed on the MESH Indiegogo page.

What is MESH?
MESH project is one of the start-up projects from Sony’s Seed Acceleration Program, an initiative of the New Business Creation Department, Sony Corporation. It is a collection of hardware blocks, each with different functions – for now, an accelerator, LED, GPIO (general purpose input /output), and button. These functional “tags” are linked wirelessly and the connections are easily configured through a free visual editing Canvas app running on a tablet. No coding is involved – you simply attach a MESH tag to an object, draw a line on the Canvas app to connect the appropriate tags and make your own invention.

MESH Canvas app tablet interface

Acceleration MESH tag connected to GPIO MESH tag through Canvas app on tablet interface.

Available MESH tags
Each MESH tag has a unique feature and wirelessly communicates using Bluetooth. The currently available tags include:

  • Button – use this to make a simple shortcut or perform a specific command, such as to control something or record press times or counts. The button tag receives Press/Double Press/Long Press patterns.
  • LED – this tag has multiple colour LEDs that you can use as a visual notification. You can control colours by mixing levels of red, green and blue. You can also control lighting patterns, to make the LED light up steadily, blink or slowly turn on/off.
  • Acceleration – this tag can detect motion patterns, such as a shaking, flipping, tap or orientation.
  • GPIO – this tag is for advanced users. It has digital and analog input/output, which enables it to be connected to other sensors or actuators such as light sensors, motors, and written circuits.
GPIO MESH tag

Overview of GPIO MESH tag.

Software tags and MESH SDK
MESH also provides you software tags which enable you to handle certain Web services and other cloud devices as with MESH tags.

MESH SW tag examples

Examples of software tags.

If you have some experience programming with JavaScript, you’ll be able to create your own software tags with the MESH SDK. Stay tuned to Developer World or the MESH project page for details on how to get the MESH SDK.

MESH SDK

MESH SDK.

Why use MESH?
MESH gives anyone the ability to become an inventor, without having to be a programmer or engineer. And it only takes minutes to connect MESH tags, and build whatever your imagination inspires you to make. Whether it’s an intuitive lighting controller or an automatic watering machine, you can incorporate your application into your everyday life to make it better, easier or more entertaining. For a look at some creative MESH ideas, you can download this MESH recipe book.

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What is the next MESH hardware tag that you’d like to become available? Do you have a cool idea for your own MESH implementation? Share your suggestions with us in the comments field below!

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