I watch a lot of those tiny house shows with my wife that seem to come on every day on HGTV and other home improvement networks. The idea of having less junk and working less to pay for things you don’t need is very appealing to me.
For better or for worse, our appliances are getting smarter. But like their simpler ancestors, they usually come with their own remote controls, be they physical controllers or apps. French startup Sevenhugs thinks it has the answer with SmartRemote, a touchscreen universal remote control for connected devices.
Ideally, SmartRemote works like this: you point it at your TV, and it turns into a TV remote, but when you point it at your LED bulb, it automatically switches to the color and brightness controls.
Like 3D printers, electronic door locks and PCs on sticks, it seeems like everyone’s making personal assistant devices these days. One of the latest electronic PAs is Mycroft, and it stands out from the rest by having open source technology.
Like its competitors, Mycroft is operated using voice commands.
Last year, we checked out a light switch that let you toggle lights just by waving your hand. Knocki lets you do that and more but by knocking or tapping on a surface.
Unlike the Clapper, Knocki doesn’t use microphones to detect knocks.
These days, there are projectors small enough that you can easily mount them wherever you want. But the Beam smart projector provides an even more convenient option, because it screws into and gets power from E26 and E27 light sockets.
The projector does have a small flat side so you can leave it on a flat surface, but it won’t be as stable as when it’s screwed into a light socket.
If Cubic Robotics sales pitch is to be believed, we’re one big step closer to having a personal assistant on the level of J.A.R.V.I.S. in Iron Man and Samantha in Her. Its presenting its Android-based Cubic personal assistant as someone you’d want to talk to, whether you want it to do something or not.
Washing clothes shouldn’t be rocket science, but you’d be forgiven for thinking that when you look at the controls of modern washing machines. So when cloud services company Berg set out to create a prototype for an Internet-connected washing machine, they didn’t want to smarten it up just so it can tweet which socks you prefer.
Home automation technologies have been around for a while, but most systems require additional gadgets to be plugged into each outlet you want to add to the system, and are generally quite costly. bRight Switch wants to replace every switch and outlet in your home so it can truly become a smart home – all without breaking the bank.
Remember SmartThings, which was successfully funded on Kickstarter a few months ago? It was understandably a huge hit with backers who wanted to make their homes infinitely “smarter.” At the end of the campaign, $1.6 million had been raised and the first batch of kits had all been sold out.
Developer Mike Leslie is working on what he calls Project Rita, a device that “keeps track of all of the information that the user is personally interested in” and ultimately “present the user with the right information at the right time.”
One of the cool technologies from the Iron Man movies is the computerized take on the Avengers’ butler Jarvis. The Ubi computer can’t be sarcastic and exchange witty banter, but it might be the closest we can get to Tony Stark’s A.I.
Thermostats are usually boring little devices that are typically plain rectangles or circles with a manual slider that you use to choose the temperature you want your house to be. The problem for many people when it comes to saving electricity is that if you want to make the home warmer while you’re gone to cut down your air conditioning bill, you come home to a hot house.
Siri can trade jokes and witty banter with you and even serve you beer, but programmer Christopher Deutsch aka CDeutsch has come up with a more practical application for the virtual assistant. Using the help of a few store-bought gadgets and Siri’s other digital buddies, Christoper Deutsch (aka “CDeutsch”) was able to create a voice-controlled home automation system.
Kinect hacks are the big new thing for geeks with time on their hands. That’s all fine and good since many of the hacks we have seen lately are actually things that are interesting. A hack has surfaced today that takes the Kinect and turns it into a home automation controller.