Even with all today's gadgets, it can still be tricky to get in touch with family that's
abroad, or even just upstairs. A new device called the Nucleus is aimed
at making it quick and simple to speak with family members wherever they
are. Surprisingly, it's inspired by the trusty old intercom.
Smart home technology has made it easy to remotely adjust thermostats or switch lights on and off using mobile devices, and door locks, too, can now be opened with just a tap on a smartphone screen. But what if you live in a gated community or apartment building? Locumi Labs has just launched a smart device that upgrades intercoms to enable keyless entry for such residences.
Philips' clever Hue lighting system has just become a bit more versatile. The Dutch firm has released an upgraded version of its Hue Bridge with support for Apple's HomeKit, allowing users to control their Hue lights with Siri and to have them work with other HomeKit enabled devices.
The kind of person who moves into a dumpster to investigate sustainable living is sure to know a thing or two about downsizing. Dr. Jeff Wilson, aka Professor Dumpster, drew upon this experience to co-create Kasita: a modern and smart urban micro-home. Geared toward professional types, it can be moved to another location with relative ease.
The relentless march of technology has helped make home security systems a more affordable option for homeowners, while the ubiquity of home wireless networks has helped extend their capabilities and ease of use. San Francisco-based startup Angee Inc. is looking to take things a bit further by adding some computer smarts to create an automated security system that is portable and doubles as a personal assistant.
Nest has announced a new version of its learning thermostat, the first major update to the product’s hardware since 2012. The newest Nest has a slimmer profile, allowing it to rest more flush with the wall in your home, and has an updated high-resolution screen that’s 40 percent larger than the display on the existing model.
Devices like the Netatmo Welcome and Blacksumac Piper can provide a real-time video stream of your home, but they can only look in one direction. The newly-launched Branto Orb, however, can view a room in 360-degrees. It has a host of communications, security and home automation features.
Can you knock on your kitchen countertop to dim the lights, turn on your favorite music or send your partner a text message? You can if you have a "Knocki" stuck to it. Developed by Texas-based Swan Solutions, Knocki is a disc-shaped device that turns solid surfaces, such as walls, doors or tables, into remote control switches for internet-connected devices. All you have to do is knock.
In an effort to improve the energy efficiency of building, researchers have sought to develop windows that change transparency to let more light – and therefore heat – through when it's cold, and less when it's hot. Unfortunately, these methods tend to impede the passage of visible light, some by tinting panes and others by complete obscuration. But a team at the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin has developed a "smart window" technology that allows the passage of visible light while blocking heat, or vice versa.
We may still be some way from having lifelike humanoid robot helpers,
but there's no doubt robots are getting more helpful, friendly and
domesticated. Blue Frog Robotics' new Buddy robot is designed to be an
affordable family companion. It can help with communications, home
security, edutainment and even elder care.