GE/Quirky partnership releases smart airconditioner
By David Szondy
March 21, 2014
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.
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.