VERVE is a new, interesting way to interact with your computer.  It comes with a variety of sensors and allows you to control your computer in a new way!

What if we told you that you don’t have to use a mouse and keyboard to control your PC?  That you can control your entire computer through squeezing, or waving, or touching?  Would it help if we told you that this will work across every application on a variety of operating systems?

This is exactly what inXus hopes to accomplish with their VERVE device, a kit that comes with several sensors and let’s you control your computer your way.  Their Kickstarter campaign has raised over $35,000 and still has 3 days to go.  We recently had a chat with Mark Bachman, co-founder of inXus Interactive who told us all about the VERVE.

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First of all, can you tell us a few words about your project?

The VERVE project aims to lower the barrier to being creative and having
fun with technology by providing a way to connect sensors to computers that
doesn’t require programming. However, we don’t want to give people a
“dumbed down” product. Our customers can use sophisticated sensors such as
accelerometers and magnetometers, as well as simple touch sensors for their
projects.

Why did you decide to start a campaign on a crowd funding platform? Why 
Kickstarter?

We think Kickstarter is the ideal place to launch this product.
Kickstarters are our kind of people–forward looking, tech savvy, doers who
arent content to wait around for things to happen by themselves. VERVE is
a relatively mature product and is almost ready to go; waiting for
traditional funding would slow us down far too much.

What advantage are you bringing to the table?

We eat, live, and breathe these kinds of physical computing technologies
that empower people. Our team at inXus has been doing this kind of work for
years and we’ve had the opportunity to work on many great projects with
creative, smart, but non-technical people. This has given us unique insight
on how to design empowering technology for non-specialists. Consequently,
our VERVE is very powerful, yet very easy to use.

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Is this your first Kickstarter campaign?

This is our first Kickstarter campaign. We have developed other products in
the past for other companies that we’ve worked with. This is the first
product from inXus interactive.

What kind of rewards did you come up with? What would be your advice to 
others regarding the rewards?

Our rewards were quite simple, consisting primarily of a VERVE kit and
sensor packs (we’re pretty focussed on this VERVE product right now!). We
are keen to provide a complete kit as a reward so that our supporters will
be able to have fun right out of the box when receiving their reward.

We’ve noticed that other successful Kickstarter campaigns have more variety
in their rewards, and offer more options at a lower price. We think this is
a good idea–offer some meaningful rewards at a lower level would help.

What would be your advice regarding creating a project on Kickstarter in 
general?  How important was the video?

The video was crucial for our campaign. If we did it again, we’d spend even
more time on the video, making it perfect. We have the opportunity to
completely explain our product in a short friendly video. People get a very
strong impression about the product from the video.

What did you do to promote your Kickstarter campaign?

We contacted friends, bloggers, coworkers, anyone who would listen to us.
Some Kickstarters are much more savvy about getting the word out. This is
important.

Could you give us some details about yourself and your team?

Prof. Mark Bachman’s lab at the University of California Irvine has been
making products like the VERVE for a very long time. The lab regularly
works on multiple research projects in physical computing, tangible
interfaces, and interactive systems.

Then-UCI students Nizan Friedman and Jordan Linford developed sensors and
games for health exergaming applications: instrumented exercise bicycles,
treadmills, ellipticals, and other equipment. However, the in-house games
just didnt seem to match the quality and fun of commercially available
games. Eventually, the team moved its attention to using commercial and
open-source games with beautiful graphics and immersive gameplay. To
control these, the team needed to produce a device that read sensors and
emulated a keyboard/mouse.

After seeing a great amount of interest in this technology from our friends
and clients, we decided to make a super user-friendly version for everyone.
The team started inXus interactive, and developed new electronic designs
and software that resulted in the VERVE product.

Please tell us something which isn’t written in your project page which 
worth mentioning.

The team is planning to develop a wide suite of easy-to-use, plug-and-play
sensors for use in VERVE, Arduino, Raspberry Pi and other home-brew
projects. These will include capacitive touch sensors, digital compass,
temperature sensors, and others.

Thanks for chatting with us, and good luck with the project!


The VERVE has the potential to revolutionize the way we interact with our computers, and the possibilities brought forth by the sensors are both numerous and intriguing. In particular, the gaming applications of the VERVE are interesting and we look forward to playing with one ourselves. If you’d like to get one yourself, there’s still time to get one by donating to the Kickstarter campaign.