Muxall was started in 2014 as a test equipment automation company. The MX product, now called Movement, was originally developed as an automated product to demo Muxall's automation and cloud services. The requirements were simple:
1. It needed to be small.
2. It needed to use off-the-shelf components.
3. It needed to be able to utilize Muxall's cloud service or run standalone.
4. Most importantly, it needed to be flexible, i.e., it needed the ability to be repurposed (or redefined) to demo different automation solutions to different customers.
So the question arose: "What could I automate that would make a good demo?" Then, I started thinking: "What could I automate that would help ME and make a good demo, too?"
It was a dark and stormy night... a power outage hit. I was going through the house resetting the blinking clocks. When I came to the bedroom alarm clock, it had not only lost its time but alarms too... the backup battery was dead, again! Five minutes later, after setting both alarms and resetting the time, the idea of the automated alarm clock came to me. Sure, I could use my cell phone. But, I keep mine parked in another room.
The MX1 - The birth of the automated alarm clock.
First requirement, it needed to automatically set the time after a power outage. Second requirement, it needed to store its alarms so a power outage would not erase them. Third requirement, it needed to stream radio. The forth requirement, one button operation. Life was good.
MX1 pictured above: The only MX1 ever made. It still sits beside my bed and is used everyday.
The MX2 - Gilding the lily.
I kept finding things I wanted automated. The MX was too bright at night so I made it automatically dim and change font colors at night. I added snooze to turn off white noise or music after a set time. I added the ability to play mp3, wav, and FLAC audio files for alarms. Both in the lab and in the house I needed multiple timers that could all run at the same time; simple enough, done!
Life was better. But beeps and music were not cutting mustard for alarms and timers. So, the birth of talking alarms, timers and voice feedback was born. Now, you know exactly what reminder or alarm is what and what timer is what when they fire. Also, when you wave your hand over it to snooze or turn-off an alarm it says "alarm snoozing" or "alarm off". Perfect!
MX2 pictured above: All MX2s were made as prototypes for testing, demos, and development. This one was used in a promo video then sat in my garage for over a year being used as a garage jambox and to see how it would handle 100+ degree Texas heat ... It is still running.
I can't stop... It's an addiction. With all that talking, voice feedback and streaming radio, it needed an audio upgrade. So, I added an audiophile class sound system.
With the upgraded sound system, it was too good to just stream radio. So, with the addition of an Aux port, now any mp3 player, phone or PC can utilize its audio section. It can be a Bluetooth speaker, docking station, or jambox.
Finally, I upgraded the enclosure and gave it a rugged industrial look. With a display bright enough to see in sunlight and big enough to see across a room, it is the perfect Room Computer.
MX3 pictured above.
I could continue to develop new automation that I like. But, I would like our customers to be a part of the Movement. There are a lot of smart and creative people in the world. I think it would be great to see where we could go. Here are some of my suggestions: Baby monitor, home automation controller, security camera monitor, and calendar integration (this is already being developed).
My Founder's Story used to end after the "What's Next?" paragraph. My wife read it and commented that my "Founder's Story has an abrupt ending." I had to mull over that for a bit because she was right. Then it dawned on me, the reason it ends abruptly is because the story is not over, it's just beginning! I hope you decide to be a part of the story, too.
Michael Crane; Founder Muxall, LLC