Prototype of Prickz


Let’s get it out of the way: The branding of Australian startup Prickz is questionable at best. But the product itself should be pretty appealing to anyone designing products for the Internet of Things wanting to remove some of the complexity of integrating competing wireless protocols.

Short for “Protocol Brickz”, Prickz modules are swappable wireless radio modules that eliminate the need to tie a product down to one communications standard, or increase its price by including multiple comms stacks. Instead manufacturers can design their products to be protocol-agnostic, empowering users to make the decision by swapping in whichever module suits their needs.

Each of the “brickz” is about the size of a USB stick. Their only hardware requirements include having a serial port and operate on 3.3 Volts, which makes them easily compatible with many devices including Arduino.

WiFi and Cellular Serial Modules: Prickz
WiFi and Cellular Serial Modules: Prickz

At first Prickz is offering modules for Wi-Fi mesh networking, 3G/4G mobile networks, and the Z-wave home automation standard. As the company develops more modules (say, for Bluetooth or Zigbee) the options will multiply -- but the strongest appeal is the promise of modules for protocols that haven’t been invented yet. By building around Prickz modules rather than betting on the longevity of today’s standards, manufacturers can essentially “future-proof” their devices.

Some unnamed manufacturers are already on board, with the first Prickz-enabled products set to be available early this year.

Check out (yes, it’s SFW) to learn more.

Related: IoT Hardware

Ted Burnham

Professional Combobulator