Gate - world's first zwave mailbox sensor

(zwavefan) #1

Hi, forum,
If you ever wanted to secure your mailbox by installing a mailbox sensor that has a long range and is solar powered, here is your chance to make it happen by supporting this Kickstarter. It took us over 2 years to create this. We tested it with ST hub and it works.
We hope some of you will find this useful.
Please support us.

(Ash ( / Ashutosh Jaiswal) #2

@zwavefan This is interesting and definitely useful, but i am just being a devil’s advocate - why would i want to pay $500 or even $ 199 (for kick starter) when i can do this with ST for a $35 tilt sensor? even if i had to buy the ST Hub on top of the sensor it would cost me $135. How is this adding additional value?

(zwavefan) #3

Thanks for your question, Ashutosh1982
$35 tilt sensor(TS) might be more useful for some applications, but

  1. TS has a very limited range, especially when attached inside the metal box.
  2. TS can not be used on vertical axis doors (opened left to right)
  3. TS doesn’t have a solar panel to last a long time and a white led to see at night.
  4. Tilt sensors can not talk to each other to create a smart network of tilt sensors and to be able to track your mailman in your neighborhood.

How far is your mailbox from your house?

( co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #4
  1. Range is a concern, but I’m wondering if a less costly solution could involved just modified antennas, adjusting the firmware to use maximum allowable power, and perhaps repeaters for very long distances.

  2. Vertical Axis door activity can be detected with an accelerometer (like SmartThings original SmartSense Multi) or inexpensive Gyroscope chip. Alternatively, a contact or motion sensor can be used (or combination that is checked by a SmartApp for confirmation).

  3. Solar rechargeable is critical for high powered transmission, but this component needs to be sourced more cheaply if is driving up your retail price. Simple disposable solar LED garden lights are ubiquitous and maybe fill the requirement, but I haven’t calculated the power capacity vs. sensor drain.

  4. SmartThings can talk Cloud-Cloud, so it is actually a trivial SmartApp for opt-in users to be alerted of neighbors mailbox activity, with arbitrary incremental enhancements up to your imagination.

There’s a bit of a security & privacy concern with the last item, of course, since a “neighbor” could virtually follow the mail / package carrier to optimize theft opportunities. So access to that data needs to be controlled and secure.

The MVP of your product is very good. Knowing mail arrival time is highly valuable for security and convenience. But unless the distance makes cheaper alternatives infeasible, I feel that the pricing will significantly limit your market and/or motivate competitive solutions.

(DLee) #5

About a quarter of a mile through trees, houses, and down a steep hill. In an anti-theft locking neighborhood box cabinet. I’d still like to get a notification when the mail arrives (It’s a long walk). Ideas? :smile:

( co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #6

Arduino or similar, GSM with SIM slot using a cheap GSM plan (ought to be under $5/month, but USA carriers aren’t very flexible… So more like $10?).

Rechargeable batteries to swap from time to time. The device can sleep except when an event occurs.

(DLee) #7

I’ll add for no monthly ongoing cost. :smile:

( co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #8

Buy the closest neighbor a FON or similar add-on WiFi router (1 time cost) and use that for data.

Or build the mail detector to work on the entire shared mail drop and charge a small fee to all the users. (ongoing income).


Its interesting. I actually had a mailbox sensor working with just a simple contact sensor. Unfortunately the doublesided tape failed on me. I’ve been meaning to find a more permanent solution. But I really don’t see me spending the money for this. I live in a fairly safe town, but I’m not keen on sticking a $200+ piece of electronics in my mailbox. I’d be concerned about theft and/or the elements causing issues.

( co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #10

Yup… When your “mailbox” looks more than your mail, this is a very real possibility. Of course the device is likely useless when stolen, but that doesn’t deter dumb hooligans. (Car radios are still a popular theft target, I think.)

(zwavefan) #11

GATE+ will work for this purpose (range up to 2000 feet)
Possibly with a Range Extender that we’re secretly working on (double the range to 4000 feet).
Also, with a box like this, you can let all your neighbors know when the mail has arrived.
Nope, you don’t need any monthly fees and we’re not planning any.

(zwavefan) #12

If it gets stolen and you email us a copy of the police report within 30 days, we’ll send you a replacement for free.

(zwavefan) #13

Yes, it’s expensive, but you get the advantage of being first and influence the development of this product.

( co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #14

The police around here would laugh and probably probably refuse to take the report, if not the first time, then the next … “You left a $300 gizmo in your mailbox?!”… Unfortunate, but quite likely.


They’re offering a replacement if it’s stolen and you file a police report.

To me, the shared neighborhood info is the reason not to buy–that’s a perfect invitation to mail theft. I don’t want the techno punk teens in my neighborhood to know mail was just delivered to every house on Maple and now the mail truck is over on Third.

Different people have different priorities, but for me my biggest concern is the packages that don’t go in the mailbox. So I’d be more likely to invest in that solution.

( co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #16

LOL… Unless you’re offering equity, but this is a rather risky investment.

I thought I’d be an early adopter and influencer of WigWag… Nearly 2½ years behind schedule now, and counting. Look it up on KS. Meanwhile, SmartThings and a few competitors have been on the retail market for many, many months. (Very few of the Backers of SmartThings’s Kickstarter had any influence on the design of the product, BTW). Just the facts. Kickstarter and IndieGogo are very risky platforms for consumers. For better or worse, the sheen of “early” adoption and hypothetical discounts off “retail” prices is starting to wear off.

I truly respect your entrepreneurship, great idea, innovative solution components, and tremendous effort. But in my personal and professional opinion, I think you are facing challenges that will be very difficult to overcome; though cost is the biggest factor: that will limit the crowdfunding revenue. You might succeed with high-end homeowners, but I doubt that market is a major segment on KS.

( co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #17

Google Buffer Box…

And Amazon Locker

( co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #18

I apologize for being such a nitpicking negative nancy, but if you were looking for a cheerleader, you unfortunately came to the wrong place.

I spend a little too much time being cynical about various ideas and ventures, but the ultimate reason is risk management and hurdle identification so that designs, plans, and efforts can be focused on resolution. Businesses certainly don’t require perfection to launch; so you can and should filter any and all of my critique at your discretion. I don’t “enjoy” being right when ventures fail.

I do, however, consider it a public service to share my concerns of my opinon of risk with as many potential Backers as possible. The gadget media (even prominent ones like CNET, always seem to ignore these risks… Very poor and unbalanced journalism).

I’m very concerned with your optimistic delivery estimate dates (December 2015… 6 months?).

I also, personally, feel that your Goal of $10,000 is insufficient to complete the project; no buffer for bumps along the way. And concerned that you “reached” this goal with funding from a single Backer. Priming the pump… that’s a red flag to me.


Yeah, Amazon locker doesn’t help me. I don’t drive and can’t easily get packages home by myself.

For many people, ElephanTrunk is a good solution for small and medium packages. You should be able to combine it with a sensor of some kind if you want to monitor it. :blush:

(zwavefan) #20

The molds are cut, PCBs are done, firmware and software is done (look up zGate on Google Play or iTunes). Even the packaging is done, just look at KS page. We have 100 beta units ready.
Point is - the project is already completed, we just need the orders to make it happen.
You can back a $2K beta- pledge right now and we’ll overnight it to you by Tuesday.

The reason why we put Dec 2015 is because we want to overdeliver and not to overpromise like a lot of KS projects out there do.