Ubi voice-controlled wireless computer on Kickstarter

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 20, 2012
Updated • Dec 1, 2012
Google Android

I love to browse around new projects that have been added to the Kickstarter crowd funding platform. While I'm mostly interested in board and computer games, I have also discovered electronic devices on Kickstarter like the Android-based video game system OUYA which recently broke the Kickstarter 24 hour funding record, or the LED status light Blink(1).

The Ubi, the Ubiquitous Computer, is a voice-controlled wireless computer that has already reached its funding goal of 32,000 Dollars. The device is powered by an 800 MHz Arm Cortext A8 processor, 1 Gigabyte of RAM and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. you get on top of that lots of connectivity, including WiFi, USB 2.0, Bluetooth 4.0 and temperature, humidity, air pressure and light sensors.

You plug the computer into a 100-240 VAC 50-60 Hz wall outlet to use it. First time users need to select the wireless network and enter the password to establish the connection. This can be done via voice, a smartphone app for the iPhone or Android, or by downloading a small file on a desktop PC.

ubi voice controlled computer

As far as functionality goes, the project page lists the following interesting options:

  • voice-controlled Internet search
  • speakerphone
  • home speaker system
  • virtual assistant, e.g. calendar or feed reader
  • voice memos
  • alarm clock
  • baby monitor
  • noise pollution monitor
  • controlling the climate with a series of Ubis in the home

The device is open, which means that third party developers can create their own applications and uses for the Ubi that may go beyond the initial functionality.

Take a look at the following promo video to get an idea of what the device is capable of.

The hands-free approach can be interesting for a number of scenarios, from retrieving information while cooking over research to medical care. It needs to be noted though that the Ubi appears to be limited in several ways. The Ubi's Internet search is for instance best suited for short one-sentence answers. Something like "how many grams are a kilogram" works well, while "a summary of Shakespeare's Rome and Juliet" will probably not.

What's interesting the most are the sensors that the Ubi ships with. If you plug a device into every room of your home, you get great control of a room's average noise and light level, temperature and humidity. These sensors can trigger notifications on your smartphone, so that you know exactly when someone turns on the light in your home, or when temperatures reach critical levels.

Users who pledge support can get an Ubi for $189, or two for $349. This is quite pricey considering that you can get a Nexus 7 tablet for $199. While you do not get the sensors among other things, it may definitely be something that could hold the Ubi back in the long run. It's no hands on approach on the other hand could help it carve out a niche for itself. The estimated delivery data for the Ubi is February 2013.


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  1. Albert said on August 18, 2023 at 1:49 pm

    Thanks for the tip Martin.

    It is for these kinds of posts that I follow GHacks.

    1. Mike Williams said on August 26, 2023 at 8:55 pm

      What’s up with the generic comment, are you a bot?

  2. Tachy said on August 18, 2023 at 3:23 pm


    Where on the planet is that still in use? I was forced to give up using my RAZRV3 years ago because 2G was phased out by AT&T.

    1. arbuz said on August 20, 2023 at 5:02 pm

      Everywhere 3G has been turned off and you don’t have LTE coverage, and believe me there are many developed countries where this is the case and if it weren’t for 2G you wouldn’t even be able to make a phone call.

    2. Doc Fuddled said on August 31, 2023 at 5:55 pm

      Maybe I missed it, but I don’t believe tha term “2G” is in the article. Perhaps you are referring to “AGM G2”??

  3. Tachy said on August 18, 2023 at 3:27 pm


    Your website has gone insane.

    When I the post button I then saw my comment posted on a different article page. When I opened this article again, it is here.

    1. Martin P. said on August 31, 2023 at 4:39 pm

      @Tachy @Martin Brinkmann

      ” Your website has gone insane. ”

      Same here. Has happened several times.

      1. owl said on September 1, 2023 at 3:42 am

        @Martin P.,

        For over two weeks now,
        I’ve been seeing “Comments” posted by subscribers appearing in different, unrelated articles.
        For the time being,
        it would be better to specify the “article name and URL” at the beginning of the post.

  4. Anonymous said on August 18, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    @tachy a lot of non-phone devices with a sim in them rely on 2G, at least here in europe.
    Usually things reporting usage or errors/alarms on something remote that does not get day to day inspection in person. They are out there in vast numbers doing important work. Reliable, good range. The low datarate is no problem at all in those cases.
    3G is gone or on its last legs everywhere, but this stuff still has too much use to cancel.

    Anyhow, interesting that they would put that in. I can see the point if you suspect a hostile 2G environment (amateur eavesdroppers with laptop, ranging up to professional grade MITM fake towers while “strangely” not getting the stronger crypto voip 4G because it is being jammed, and back down to something as old ‘stingray’ devices fallen into the wrong hands).

    But does this also mean that they have handled and rolled out a fix for that nasty 4G ‘pwn by broadcast’ problem you reported earlier this year? I had 4G disabled due to that, on the off chance that some of the local criminals would buy some cheap chinese gear, download a working exploit and probe every phone in range all over town in the hope of getting into phones of the police.

  5. Andy Prough said on August 19, 2023 at 3:04 am

    >”While most may never be attacked in stingrays, it is still recommended to disable 2G cellular connections, especially since it does not have any downsides.”

    The downside would be losing connectivity. I spend a lot of time way out in the countryside where there’s often no service or almost none. My network allows 2G, and I need it sometimes. I have an option on the phone to disable 2G, I may do that when I’m in the city and I have good 5G connectivity, but not out in the country.

    I would imagine that the stingray exploits, like most of the bad things in this world, are probably things you will run into in the crowded big cities.

  6. owl said on August 21, 2023 at 3:40 am

    I stopped using it in a mobile (Wi-Fi line) environment, so I’m almost ignorant of the actual situation,
    But the recent reality in Japan makes me realize that “the infrastructure of the web is nothing more than a papier-mâché fiction”.

    It is already beyond the scope of what an individual can do.
    What we should be aware of is the reality that “governments and those in power want to control the world through the Web”, and efforts to counter (resist and prevent) such ambitions are necessary.

  7. Anonymous said on August 26, 2023 at 9:27 pm

    Why do you want people to disable the privacy features? Hmmmmm?

  8. Anonymous said on August 27, 2023 at 2:30 am

    Now You: do you plan to keep the Ads privacy features enabled?

    I’d like to tell you, but apparently if you make a post critical of Google, you get censored. * [Editor: removed, just try to bring your opinion across without attacking anyone]

  9. Tachy said on August 27, 2023 at 5:15 am


    You website is still psychotic. Comments attach to random stories.

  10. John G. said on August 28, 2023 at 2:46 pm

    @Martin please do fix the comments, it’s completely insane commenting here! :[

  11. ECJ said on August 28, 2023 at 5:37 pm


    The comments are seriously messed up on gHacks now. These comments are mixed with the article at the below URL.


    And comments on other articles are from as far back as 2010.

  12. Naimless said on August 29, 2023 at 12:57 am

    What does this article has anything to do with all the comments on this article? LOL I think this Websuite is ran by ChatGPT. every article is messed up. Some older comments from 2015 shown up in recant articles, LOL

  13. Paul Knight said on August 31, 2023 at 3:35 am

    The picture captioned “Clearing the Android Auto’s cache might resolve the issue” is from Apple Carplay ;)

  14. Anonymous said on August 31, 2023 at 9:57 pm

    How about other things that matter:
    Drop survival?
    Screen toughness?
    Degree of water and dust protection?

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