Product Example: Thermodo Thermometer for iPhone

Thermodo – a good example of a product following trends.

Successfully launched using Kickstarter, and piggybacking the popularity of the iPhone, the Thermodo is a good case study for a successful product launch.

The item starts off as a keychain but comes apart to reveal a temperature sensing thermocouple that you plug into the headphone/microphone jack on your iPhone.

Thermocouple for you iPhone

Drawing courtesy of (i.e. ripped off of)


Using an application on your iPhone, the insert will display the temperature of your location.

How does this happen you ask?  So did I.

A typical temperature sensor will send an electrical voltage to a reader, which translates this voltage into degrees Fahrenheit or Celsius – but you can’t just put an electrical signal into your mobile phone.

However, this headphone jack also doubles as a microphone jack – and you can input a sound.  So the nifty little probe actually uses a sound signal which is varied with the temperature.

So the phone application basically takes this sound and displays it in degrees Celsius – pretty neat huh?


Actually this unit is usable on all iOS devices (iPod/iPad) and Android.  Windows phone integration is a stretch goal that will eventually come out.

The usable range of the unit is from -20degC to +50degC, not bad for a small gadget.  Plus you likely don’t need to worry about being outside of that range since your iPhone will give up long before that (just try leaving yours in the sun for 10min and you’ll see).

Finally, a developer kit will be made available for programmers and app developers who would like to integrate the local temperature into the application.

The last piece of the Thermodo puzzle is its success on Kickstarter.


In general, I love the idea, the crowdfunding via Kickstarter, the use of  iOS devices, and the clean design.  However, I have not used it myself, so I cannot vouch for the quality and durability of these units.

For more info, or to purchase your own unit, please visit the Thermodo website.

Perhaps this little product will inspire you to integrate your own product idea into an iPhone application.

The Thermodo developers weren’t even looking to design a physical product; they’re really a software design studio.  As the story goes, one of their apps displayed the local temperature at a phone’s location.  Of course they couldn’t actually measure the temperature, so they had to use internet weather information for the phone’s GPS co-ordinates.  As expected, some customers complained that it only displayed outside temperature and not for the indoors.  At first they figured it would be overly complicated to actually measure temperature, and chalked this idea up as a pipe-dream.  But what if?  What if it could really be done???

This is how a successful product idea is conceived: pivoting on existing products and customer feedback.


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