KickStarter Spotlight: Compude

KickStarter Spotlight: Compude

Apr 27, 2012

Scouring through the depths of KickStarter brings up some incredibly ambitious projects trying to get their shot at the sun. One such project is a very intriguing idea that has been attempted before with varying degrees of success, but few have as much flair as Compude. Compude is the brainchild of Lance Parker and his start-up, and it is a thumb drive that allows subscribers of its paid service quick and almost instant access of their desktops at home. I am aware that a lot of companies offer services that allow a user to access their computers from a remote location, but none have made it as simple and streamlined as the demo that Lance Parker shows on the video on his KickStarter page. Almost instantly after plugging in the device onto a borrowed laptop Lance’s desktop appeared on the screen and he was instantly able to access any and all files at his disposal.

Assuming that this project works as displayed here, and hoping that everyone knows that recorded and controlled demos should be taken with a grain of salt, this represents an insanely large leap in the computing world. Instead of having to deal with web browsers, usernames, passwords, and insecurity, Compude is as simple as plugging in a USB drive and swiping a finger across the world’s smallest finger print reader. Everything, and I mean everything, is encrypted and the video makes it clear that security is of foremost concern for Lance and his team.

Taking a step back, there are a few concerns that are immediately apparent. First up is the matter of lag; as streaming video game service OnLive has shown it is possible to offer virtually lag free streaming interaction on networks only over 3.5 Mb/s; can Compude do the same? The speed shown in the video is so fast it is hard to believe, and keeping my expectations in check I fully expect to see the actual field performance to be much slower. Part of the processing will be done by the device which has tiny 400 mhz processor, 256 mb RAM, and 32 gig of internal storage; which will aide in deciphering the 256-bit AES encryption. Smartphone and tablet support is of course included if an adapter is used to bridge the USB with micro-USB or Apple’s proprietary connection port.

All speculation aside, the sheer idea of being able to pull a desktop computer up on a smartphone or tablet is too tantalizing to ignore. There still remains a lot of unknowns as the project description is not exactly a comprehensive explanation, but it is still worth checking out the project’s KickStarter page and determine whether Compude is tech’s latest Icarus.