The future of intelligent connected devices, today

The Silk Labs team has been working for the last year on our platform, Silk, which enables a new generation of more intelligent connected devices. As we are getting closer to launching the first commercial-scale products based on Silk, we have reached a difficult decision that we want to share with our community.

We are not going to build the Sense hardware product, and all Kickstarter backers will be refunded immediately. Why? Our original plan was to launch a Kickstarter product first (Sense), and then work with commercial-scale hardware manufacturers on integrating Silk into their future products. We are now seeing so much commercial interest in the Silk platform that we have realized we can bring our vision to more people more quickly if we switch gears and focus on the commercial opportunities ahead, instead of completing our Kickstarter device first. We want to be completely transparent about this decision, be timely about getting our backers refunded, and provide everyone with the context and appropriate information to remain informed and excited about the opportunity that lies ahead for connected devices running Silk.

We intended for Sense to be the first device that could run our Silk software platform and let people experience a more intelligent and personal device for the home. We wanted early adopters to experience Silk and help us build out new features and experiences. We were hoping that our success with Sense would encourage hardware manufacturers and brands to incorporate our platform in their mass market devices. Our timing was perfect: early adopters signed up via Kickstarter and hardware companies expressed interest, but everything happened much faster than we ever hoped for. Therefore, we’ve decided to skip the early adopter phase and focus on the large-scale commercial opportunities that we have ahead of us.

While we will not continue to build the Sense hardware itself, we will do our best to help our supporters experiment with and experience the capabilities of our Silk platform. We’ve open-sourced our platform, available today, so that others can develop Silk experiences the way we described it in our Kickstarter campaign. Since we won’t further pursue the dedicated Sense hardware, we are making available a port of Silk to popular smartphones. Smartphones have most of the sensors and compute capabilities we were planning for Sense, and developers and enthusiasts will be able to start experimenting with our Silk platform much sooner. Builds and the source code of the Silk platform are available today, not at the end of 2016!

We believe that intelligent, Silk-enabled experiences will bring the IoT into a new age. Silk is a powerful software platform built from the same technologies that power the web and bring the power and extensibility of JavaScript, Node.js and the npmjs.org ecosystem. Today, we are making our platform public to all. If you are a developer, we invite you to access the platform at our GitHub repository. Our Kickstarter backers have already begun to fork, pull, tinker, and test Silk -- we look forward to seeing what amazing projects you can build!

Our Kickstarter developer community will also have the opportunity to apply for a Silk development device consisting of a Xiaomi RedMi Note 3 smartphone with the Silk software pre-installed. The first 100 who sign up will have the opportunity to apply $100 of their pledge towards this development device. We will cover the rest of the cost of the device, and refund the remaining pledge amount. For anyone who doesn’t choose to participate in this opportunity, we will fully refund the amount they pledged.

If you already own a Xiaomi RedMi Note 3 or a Nexus4, you can use it to run Silk. With the support of our open-source community, we hope to port Silk to other popular Android smartphones. Most Android phones that are unlocked can be transformed into a powerful IoT platform with Silk!

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The Xiaomi handset has all of the sensors and capabilities of most connected home devices you might find: a CPU, a microphone, a speaker, a display, WiFi and Bluetooth. In fact, we developed the initial demos for Sense on a very similar handset. In this way, developers can create their own version of Sense, just like our original prototype. If you are a backer, please look for a message on Kickstarter with more information on how to participate!

We founded Silk Labs because we want to live in a world where the devices in our homes are intelligent and can respond with helpful and meaningful experiences. Together with hardware manufacturers, we will create a new set of intelligent experiences by providing the future of everyday deep learning, today.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest information about Silk Labs and the Silk platform. We can’t wait to show you what Silk is capable of!

- Andreas Gal, CEO and co-founder

Silk Labs