A Lawrence-based startup team opened a Kickstarter campaign Tuesday to launch Mycroft, an open-source, open-hardware artificial intelligence platform based on Raspberry Pi 2 and Arduino.
Mycroft aims to be an affordable alternative to voice-based A.I. systems like Amazon Echo, and its product demo video shows it as a way to control a range of household IoT devices. Connected to a home network, it can play music directly or connect to output devices to stream media through natural-language commands. The platform will come with the ability to integrate with smart devices such as the SmartThings hub, WeMo devices or Phillips Hue lights and online services such as IFTTT, with the promise that its open-source nature will mean developers can add their own features.
Founded by Wicked Broadband founder Joshua Montgomery and software developer Ryan Sipes, the Mycroft team includes several engineers, developers and entrepreneurs with experience in several open-source communities at the University of Kansas and with ties to the Lawrence Center for Entrepreneurship.
Their Kickstarter goal is not to fully fund the company or Mycroft production but to “prove that there is a community that wants to see an open source artificial intelligence solution,” according to the site. Backers pledged more than $17,000 in its first two days live.
The campaign has 30 days to raise $99,000 and is offering Mycroft units, with an April 2016 pre-release date, to backers of $99 or more. According to the Kickstarter site, the public release will be in July 2016, and the units will be $129 each.
Alex Garrison works in educational technology, tech support and WordPress development. Before finding her passion in programming, she was a reporter and web editor in Northeast Kansas. She lives in Omaha but is a Larryville townie at heart.