Sometimes I miss the Kinect. It was such a breakthrough device, yet it didn’t go anywhere. But it inspired a lot of entrepreneurs, including the team behind Hayo. This new device lets you set up virtual buttons on a table to control all your connected objects.

Hayo recently announced there will be an API so developers can play with the company’s image recognition technology. Some people already want to use Hayo for games, others for their shops. There are many possibilities, and I can’t wait to see how developers are going to use this new input device.

Brian already wrote about the device, and the company is now live on Indiegogo — in fact, the campaign will certainly reach its goal today. The device is shipping later this year and currently costs $219 on Indiegogo.

I played with a prototype at a TechCrunch meetup in Barcelona and I was quite impressed by the technology behind it. You can put the tube-shaped device on a table and tap on a specific area to turn on the lights, pause the music and more.

Hayo isn’t a complicated device. In fact, the first prototype was just a Kinect and a few electronic components inside a Pringles can. But the magic happens on the company’s servers. The startup has been working on image and signal processing for years.

The device creates a depth map with a bunch of sensors and then sends data to a server. The server analyzes the data using the company’s image processing algorithms. If a user triggered something, Hayo can then send a message back to the device. Finally, the device talks with the connected devices around your home to control them.

In my testing, this could provide a nice alternative to voice-powered interfaces like Alexa, Google Home or Siri. We tried using it with Philips Hue lights and a Sonos speaker. You can use objects as “phantom switches” or maybe print some buttons to pin them up. But I’m even more interested in other use cases that will go beyond the smart home.

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