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GE/Quirky partnership releases smart airconditioner

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March 21, 2014

The Aros air conditioner works with the WINK app

The Aros air conditioner works with the WINK app

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Air conditioners are a blessing in a hot climate, but with their thermostat minds they’re almost like sticking a vacuum cleaner in your wallet. To help remedy this, GE and Quirky have launched the Aros smart air conditioner; the first major connected appliance of the partnership. This Wi-Fi-enabled air conditioning unit uses Quirky’s WINK app to learn its owner’s habits and adjust itself accordingly, so it keeps the home cool without breaking the bank.

Until now, air conditioners have been fairly simple things. You set the temperature, turned them on, and let them do the rest. The trouble is, the only thing a conventional air conditioner has to go on is the ambient temperature, so it keeps belting out cold air and consuming electricity whether there's anyone in the room or not, or whether there’s any money left in the kitty or not.

Controlled by Quirky's WINK app, the 8,000 BTU Aros adjusts itself to your habits to keep an up to 350 sq ft (32.5 sq m) room comfortably cool while saving energy. By combining information on usage, weather conditions, and your budget, the unit produces a schedule that balances comfort and cost. The app also allows the Aros unit to know when you’re home or away, and can anticipate your arrival and cool the room beforehand. It also keeps track of the air conditioning budget and sends you an alert when you’re reaching your limit. In addition, the app lets you control the Aros unit from your digital device.

The Aros air conditioner and its inventor

Aros is the result of an idea by Garthen Leslie (seen above) of Columbia, Maryland, who submitted his thoughts to Quirky. The company then drew on 2,000 crowdsource community members and GE engineering experience to create the unit in a matter of months. it’s designed to fit most windows. It has slide-out extensions, three fan speeds and three cooling modes, and uses an upward airflow to improve circulation. According to Quirky, the filter is easy to remove and clean.

The Aros is available for preorder at Amazon.com for US$300.

The video below introduces the product.

Source: Quirky

About the Author
David Szondy David Szondy is a freelance writer based in Monroe, Washington. An award-winning playwright, he has contributed to Charged and iQ magazine and is the author of the website Tales of Future Past.   All articles by David Szondy
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2 Comments

Considering Nest launched in 2011 it's amazing it took someone this long to "invent" the idea of improving the controls in window mounted AC units.

My existing air conditioner already does all of those things and its been installed since last year. Honeywell and a few others also have competing products on the market.

I own a small handful of Quirky products but I hope they don't now claim to own the idea of smart controls on air conditioners that are mounted in a window.

it seems like a bit of a land grab. I hereby invent the idea of copying nests controls for use in space and propane heaters. Oh, their AC unit is a window mount so I am going to go ahead and claim window mount AC units for my own.

In all seriousness though window AC units could probably add support to talk to Nest though Zigbee, Zwave, or WiFi without needing to build their own custom software platform. You could then have a few AC units spread around the house that Nest is able to manage.

I know a lot of homes in the north east US for instance do not have central air and it would allow Nest to handle cooling as well in those homes.

If I were Nest that is how I would strike back but if they do do it I want to participate in the celebratory cocktail party. We can talk about using my connected thermostat idea for Amish space heaters over drinks.

Daishi
22nd March, 2014 @ 12:29 am PDT

I think better insulation is the better alternative.

Slowburn
23rd March, 2014 @ 12:01 pm PDT
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