Not so long ago, a smoke detector and possibly a wall-mounted thermometer and/or barometer were generally the extent of indoor monitoring devices for the home. But a number of devices are appearing designed to increase our knowledge about the environment in which we spend most of our time. Joining the likes of Netatmo’s Urban Weather Station and the Lapka personal environment monitor are CubeSensors, small, sensor-packed wireless cubes designed to “measure everything that can be measured about indoors.”
The Slovenia-based CubeSensors team argues that even though we spend 90 percent of our time indoors, we know more about the weather outside. With the aim of improving productivity, well-being and health, the two-inch cube shaped devices monitor temperature, air quality, barometric pressure, humidity, noise, vibrations and light, with the data streamed via Wi-Fi to the cloud so it can be accessed on a mobile device or web browser.
Uploading the data to the cloud allows it to be analyzed so that recommendations to improve the indoor conditions can be delivered – turning on the lights or opening a window, for example. The real-time information allows users to see the effectiveness of their actions, while historical data can be viewed to see long-term trends. Users can set their own criteria to trigger an alert, such as the air becoming too polluted or the temperature getting to high or low. Multiple cubes can also act as a network and data can be kept private or shared with groups – in an office environment, for example.
Powered by a rechargeable battery and streaming their data wirelessly, the cubes themselves are completely self-contained and portable – they can even tell when they’re being moved thanks to the inbuilt accelerometer. However, they function in combination with a base station.
CubeSensors took out the Best Hardware Startup award at the 2013 Launch Festival but aren’t currently available and no release date has been announced. This is likely to be dependent on consumer interest, with CubeSensors adopting a pre-order model that involves customers putting up a (refundable) US$10 reservation payment towards the $249 price for a set of two cubes and a base station, or the $349 cost for four cubes and a base station.