In recent years, we have seen a ton of wearables that do a lot of things – track physical activities/calories burned, display email/text/phone notifications, monitor how well one sleeps at night, steps walked, workouts done, and several other activities. Typically, these wearables are worn on the hand and they don’t necessarily interact with other objects in the environment – with current wearables, you cannot open or close doors, turn on or off the lights. They just interact with you (the wearer) and your phone in most cases (phone call, text, email, social media notifications).
Playtabase, a company in Minneapolis, MN co-founded by Al Baker, is working hard to take wearables to the next level – a level that will make interaction with every object in the house or office a breeze. This will be especially incredible for people with disabilities.
Reemo – What is it?
Reemo, just like several other wearables, is worn on the wrist. However, the purpose is to not just track your physical activities. Reemo works in combination with a wireless receiver and smart plug. A device or object like a coffeemaker, stereo, lock, light, door, window blinds or almost anything around the house can be connected to the receiver and operated by Reemo by simply gesturing towards it. For example, you don’t have to walk up to the switch to turn it on or off or to adjust the thermostat. No need to walk up to the door to keep opening and closing it as more and more guests come in. Lights, security systems, entertainment systems, fireplace int the house – you name it, Reemo can operate it. All one has to do is wear Reemo and use one of the six gestures that can be assigned to Reemo, and Reemo performs the desired operation for them.
Reemo & Assistive Technology
Picture this – a person is in a wheelchair. They may be an amputee, have mobility issues, have had a stroke recently and were paralyzed. Moving around in the house and operating different devices may be a struggle or in some cases not really possible. For such a person, just being in their bed or wheelchair and to be able to adjust their thermostat, start the fireplace, turn on the security system, and turn blinds up and down by just pointing and gesturing will bring great convenience. Similarly, a blind person gesturing towards their coffee machine to get a freshly brewed cup of coffee or turning on their music system without approaching it and looking for buttons will be tremendously convenient as well.
Al sees Reemo in the assistive technology/care realm as a complimentary device. Currently, there are around 10 – 11 million homes that are “smart” as compared to a total of 135 million homes in the US. He also says that homeowners and caregivers at various facilities have started looking at smart technology but they want solutions that are better than what a phone app offers to really control everything. That’s where Reemo fits in nicely.
There are currently 110 developers that are developing applications for Reemo whether as an assistive technology device or something really cool because after all, Reemo is not just a technology for people with disabilities – it’s a technology for anyone, including lazy people!
Listen to Al talking about Reemo and assistive technology below:
Al was kind enough to give me a demo of how Reemo works. The scenario in this video is that of a person who is going to bed and wants to turn off the light(s) and turn on the lock on the door (both at the same time). This demonstrates that with one gesture, multiple objects/devices can be operated. Al also shows how, with a different gesture, just one of the multiple objects in the setup can be operated as well.
Note:I will add captions to the video soon!
Now that you have seen the demo, watch the following video too to get an idea of what all you can use Reemo for:
Reemo came into existence for two reasons – one, to do cool things, and two, because Playtabase’s cofounder Muhammad’s father suffered two strokes that left half of his body disabled. The idea was to give him a “universal remote” that he wouldn’t drop and it would just consist of a wave of a hand. They wouldn’t have to pay anyone so much to look after him because not only would it make him more independent but also make him feel emotionally better. During the same time, the emergence of smart homes and wearables also encouraged Al and Muhammad to create a solution that will work on all smart watches and wouldn’t be proprietary.
Hear Al talk more about the inspiration behind Reemo:
Reemo – The Product
In the next month and a half, Reemo will be shipped to its alpha and beta users. It will be available to consumers sometime during summer of this year. The consumer kit can also be pre-ordered on Reemo’s website for $249 (and $299 for a developer kit).
To know more about all the great progress Reemo’s making and to get the latest news, sign up on for their mailing list.
Playtabase has been around for two and half years and Reemo for around two. Playtabase has aspirations to create products that are both engaging and fun to use but are also meaningful and have a lot of depth.