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Wireless Networking

Funding for iFind Kickstarter Suspended 104

An anonymous reader writes As of approximately 9AM PDT, funding for the iFind project at Kickstarter, the one with the bluetooth tags that have no battery and that harvest energy from WiFi and other radio sources, has been suspended. No word yet on how this came about. Not an unexpected outcome since their claims of harvesting enough energy for a Bluetooth beacon from ambient wireless signals looked pretty far-fetched.
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Funding for iFind Kickstarter Suspended

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  • Slashdot Effect (Score:4, Informative)

    by turp182 ( 1020263 ) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @05:08PM (#47328089) Journal

    Slashdot was mentioned prominently in the comments for the project once it hit the front page.

    I followed the posts that day (Tuesday?) and comments were much more lively than before that point.

  • by Austerity Empowers ( 669817 ) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @05:19PM (#47328185)

    It's not any one thing, it's the culimination of nonsense.

    They are going to market in 3 months, but there's not even a prototype to show, that's crazy if you've ever done hardware design work. They just need $500K, that's outrageously low for hardware, I know software startups which eat 10x that. Hardware eats a lot of money in test alone. Their claims are outside the range and specs for the technologies they work with. Not outrageously so, but ... enough that eyebrows have to be raised. Their "technical details" carefully avoid explaining why any of it is possible, and instead give intellectual symbolic links to why it might work and secret sauce.

    The things that are really dubious are the "shake to find" feature, which seems to be magical at best given how bluetooth works and what their claims are.

    Then people are background checking the CEO and while this may or may not be trustworthy, his alleged linked in pages does not give him the credentials he claims. He's allegedly got patents on cold fusion... Add it all up, and you have to lean on the side of scam. Maybe he's a misunderstood genius, but he's going to have to prove it.

  • Re:Far-fetched? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Firethorn ( 177587 ) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @05:19PM (#47328187) Homepage Journal

    For comparison, an RFID reader has the same FCC-imposed limits as WiFi, an EIRP of 4W (or put another way, a 1W transmitter with a typical 6dBi antenna).

    RFID readers are also generally bigger than a cell phone, utilize a protocol developed specifically for low power(Bluetooth is incredibly complex and high-powered in comparison, actually doing handshakes and stuff), don't do any more than transmit a number(essentially), and work at ranges a whole lot less than 200 meters.

    If we could build a wireless power receiver that doesn't need a specific power transmitter that can transmit powerfully enough to be heard at a couple hundred meters into something the size of a dime ALL small consumer devices would be looking to use it. Bye-bye chargers for the most part would only be the first step.

  • Re:Far-fetched? (Score:5, Informative)

    by KreAture ( 105311 ) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @05:23PM (#47328223)
    The problem is it's not RFID. They state it is bluetooth. Further more they claim functionality not even possible/correct with Rope etc. BTLE uses around 0.15 mW or 150 W according to a overview by DigiKey and according to Powercast and their P2110 Powerharvester you can get a few 10's of microwatts from a 3W transmitter at around 40 feet. This tells me it's not fesible.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 26, 2014 @05:24PM (#47328237)

    RFIDs are charged by a special signal before reading, like EZ Pass. They only pass a few bits of data which requires very little energy, unlike Bluetooth which passes much more energy.

    None of these use ambient Wi-Fi energy.

  • by dainichi ( 1181931 ) <foo@danielmi e s t e r .com> on Thursday June 26, 2014 @05:25PM (#47328243) Journal

    The concept is plausible. Just not under the conditions that they were supposedly going to operate under.
    Rather than try to reinvent the wheel, I invite you to read this thorough explanation of why *the iFInd* won't work []

  • by suutar ( 1860506 ) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @06:32PM (#47328767)

    they didn't get the half million. Kickstarter shut it down before the transfers.

  • Kickstarter email (Score:5, Informative)

    by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @07:30PM (#47329121)

    Here's what has been sent to backers in email from Kickstarter ( I haven't found any additional information from Kickstarter.

    This is a message from Kickstarter’s Trust & Safety team. We’re writing to notify you that the iFind - The World's First Battery-Free Item Locating Tag project has been suspended, and your $1.00 USD pledge has been canceled. A review of the project uncovered evidence of one or more violations of Kickstarter's rules, which include:
      A related party posing as an independent, supportive party in project comments or elsewhere
      Misrepresenting support by pledging to your own project
      Misrepresenting or failing to disclose relevant facts about the project or its creator
      Providing inaccurate or incomplete user information to Kickstarter or one of our partners
    Accordingly, all funding has been stopped and backers will not be charged for their pledges. No further action is required on your part.
    We take the integrity of the Kickstarter system very seriously. We only suspend projects when we find strong evidence that they are misrepresenting themselves or otherwise violating the letter or spirit of Kickstarter's rules. As a policy, we do not offer comment on project suspensions beyond what is stated in this message.
    Kickstarter Trust & Safety
    Community Guidelines
    Terms of Use

  • by Sique ( 173459 ) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @07:39PM (#47329213) Homepage
    As far as I know, the device (if it actually could work) would be illegal in most of Europe. Charging a device with the EM waves sent by other devices is considered energy theft and thus forbidden. In the 1960ies, devices charged by radiowaves from a nearby radio tower were a constant theme in the electronic magazines, but later, this was forbidden, as it actually forces the radio tower to increase the emitted amount of energy to compensate for the loss due to the charging device.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 26, 2014 @10:58PM (#47330211)
    Even ignoring where they get their power from, they claim [] in 1 second rope mode it uses an average of 36 microamps of current, and can store enough energy to run 18 days without any charging source. That works out to 55 coulombs of charge... that seems like a lot of charge to store in something that is not a battery (and even if using a different voltage to store it, you don't gain much in terms of volume... either it is a 55 F super-capacitor at 1 V, or a 140 mF cap at 400 V, neither of which is as small and flat as their tag thing. That works out to about 15 mAh, which is getting kind of high even for a battery in that size (unless the tag thing is a lot thicker than it looks to me).

BLISS is ignorance.