published Friday, January 10th, 2014

Small Biz: NODE gets nod from CES judges at world's biggest tech convention

The NODE device, right, links to a smart phone via Bluetooth technology. The team of Variable Technologies, a company founded by George Yu, has recently set up camp at the Business Development Center to develop, market and produce the NODE device. The device incorporates various sensors — including movement, heat, light and radioactivity — into a palm-sized cylinder that connects to a smart phone via Bluetooth.
The NODE device, right, links to a smart phone via Bluetooth technology. The team of Variable Technologies, a company founded by George Yu, has recently set up camp at the Business Development Center to develop, market and produce the NODE device. The device incorporates various sensors — including movement, heat, light and radioactivity — into a palm-sized cylinder that connects to a smart phone via Bluetooth.
Photo by Staff File Photo.

The NODE is an answer to life's nagging questions: What's that smell? What color paint is on my wall? How hot is this coffee?

The bluetooth-enabled NODE device, produced by Chattanooga-based Variable, Inc. for use with smart phones, finally got an answer to a question of its own this year, when it took home top honors at the biggest consumer electronics show in the world, CES.

How great is the NODE? Good enough to stand alongside curved TVs, wireless surround sound speakers and smart watches, according to the judges that honored it among others in the "Tech For A Better World" product category.

"It definitely validates that, as a device and as a product, that we're on the right track," said Jonathan Bragdon, chief business officer of the company.

The Chattanooga invention, which was created by Variable founder George Yu, raised more than $120,000 on Kickstarter in 2012, and secured another $1.25 million in 2013 from venture investors, when it was proclaimed "the coolest gizmo we found at CES" by CNN.

This year, the company is working to expand beyond the consumer market to distribute NODE sensors to commercial and industrial customers, who can use it for research and development or quality control. The company is also seeking developers to build apps for its hardware, which now includes a handful of different sensors that can detect everything from barometric pressure to carbon dioxide levels.

"This is great validation of the NODE's design and functionality," Bragdon said. "You couldn't ask for much bigger of an honor in the consumer space."

-- Contact staff writer Ellis Smith at esmith@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6315.

about Ellis Smith...

Ellis Smith joined the Chattanooga Times Free Press in January 2010 as a business reporter. His beat includes the flooring industry, Chattem, Unum, Krystal, the automobile market, real estate and technology. Ellis is from Marietta, Ga., and has a bachelor’s degree in mass communication at the University of West Georgia. He previously worked at UTV-13 News, Carrollton, Ga., as a producer; at the The West Georgian, Carrollton, Ga., as editor; and at the Times-Georgian, Carrollton, ...

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