Shaka Is A Wind Meter Device For iOS With Gustier Ambitions

Posted: May 9, 2013 in Europe, Gadgets, Mobile, Startup, Technology
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After reading about WeatherSignal, a new project from
London startup OpenSignal which makes use of the
latest sensors in smartphones such as the Samsung
Galaxy S4 to crowdsource weather information, I was
reminded that I recently caught wind of Shaka, an
Estonian startup that has built a wind meter accessory for iOS. Due to start shipping next month, the battery-free
Shaka Wind Meter plugs into an iPhone, iPod touch,
or iPad’s headphone socket, and combined with the
existing onboard sensors of Apple’s hardware and the
startup’s own app/service, measures, records and
displays wind-specific weather data such as current and average wind speed, maximum wind gust,
ambient temperature, and wind direction — all
mapped to a location via GPS. The device’s inspiration and intended use-case was
to enable people who take part in wind-related sports,
such as windsurfers and kitesurfers, to find good wind
conditions. “Forecasts are often inaccurate and the
coverage with stationary and connected stations is
not good enough,” says Shaka co-founder Raigo Raamat. “We wanted to simplify the process of
sharing good wind conditions inside the community.” But when he and his two other co-founders — Jens
Kasemets and Mihkel Güsson — embarked on the
project as far back as 2011 they soon realised “many
more communities” could benefit from a device that
enabled a smartphone or tablet to be transformed into
a “connected weather station” for either private use or for contributing to and accessing real-time
crowdsourced weather data. These range from
academia, agriculture, emergency services, to golfers
and motor sports. “The problem for all these use
cases differ, but all need local weather measurements
as input,” says Raamat. To that end, Shaka has gustier ambitions beyond just
a wind meter. Longer term, the startup and graduate
of the harware-focused accelerator HAXLR8R (which
also provided seed funding), plans to build what
Raamat’s calling a platform for the world’s smallest
weather station. “We’ll add barometric pressure and humidity sensors to achieve that and also support
Android devices,” he says. The startup’s ultimate
target is expensive and non-connected legacy
handheld weather stations. Today the company is monetizing on the hardware
only — the accompanying app is free — but in the
future it will offer additional paid-for services, along
with opening up the platform to partners who want to
develop apps on top of Shaka that target various
weather-related communities.

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