The Node Modular Sensor: Sensing the World with 3D Printing

In our travels to a number of expos I have seen a lot of 3D printed prototypes and final production parts and I’ve read about more than I can count, but I haven’t been able to see these pieces in an actual manufacturing operation. In Chattanooga, we got our first glimpse of 3D printing used in both the development and end production of a really exciting new technology, the Node, from Variable, Inc.

Node sensor with iphone app and 3D printed partCurrently headquartered at the city’s first startup incubator, the INCubator, Variable designs and manufactures their modular sensor, the Node. The Node is small cylinder equipped with a motion sensor, a blue-tooth, and the ability to connect to a variety of awesome sensors, which attach at either end. Variable has already built a number of modules that, in conjunction with a smartphone app, give the Node super powers.

The Therma (which comes in an even more powerful Pro model and more adaptable Thermacouple model) is a laser-pointer turned thermometer that, when you point it at an object, can read its surface temperature. The CO2 gives the Node the ability to measure CO2 levels in the air, while the Oxa add-on expands these air sniffing abilities to measure carbon monoxide, nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide, chlorine gas, sulfur dioxide, or hydrogen sulfide indoors. … (Read more)