Showing posts with label Gadgets. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gadgets. Show all posts

Five of the Coolest Home Automation Gadgets

Posted by Muhammed Posted on Tuesday, April 07, 2015
Home automation is one of the fastest-growing and most exciting genres of consumer technology these days. What may or may not have started as a gimmick has begun to offer legitimate innovation, convenience and enhanced security, and the streamlining of your home’s gadgetry.

In the past couple of years, we’ve seen several companies emerge as the frontrunners of the modern smart home, but there are always newcomers who are arriving to the scene, releasing their own versions of products that innovate in new ways. Despite just about everyone wanting their home to be a smart home, you might say that the home automation market is at risk of becoming a bit saturated; when there are several gadgets competing to fill the same spot in the home automation spectrum, how are we supposed to choose which smart home tech to get?

Here are some of the coolest, most innovative and useful home automation technologies that stand out from the crowd.

Luna Smartbed Mattress Cover

You’ve probably gotten into bed at night and shivered as you wished there could be a way to warm your bed up before you get into it. Or maybe during the night, you’ve woken up just long enough to throw the blankets off and wish there was a way to keep your bed cool as you slept. The answer to your prayers is the Luna Smartcover, a cover for your mattress that makes your bed smart.

Via Indiegogo

Much like the renowned Sleep Number beds that have dual controls on each side, Luna gives you the ability to control the temperature of your bed on both sides or either side individually, right from your smartphone or tablet. It’ll also learn your temperature preferences and schedule over time, which means that at a certain point you’ll practically never need to adjust the temperature manually. Luna monitors your vitals and tracks your sleep patterns like the wearable tech available today. It’s also a smart alarm, can connect to most major home automation systems including the Nest Learning Thermostat, and is available in several mattress sizes. Currently available for preorder through crowdfunding site Indiegogo, Luna currently starts at a reduced $235 for the full-size mattress and is slated for release early this summer.

Smarter Coffee Maker

After you’ve had a gorgeous night’s sleep on your smartbed, you should have the perfect cup of coffee waiting for you in the kitchen. The Smarter Coffee Maker is an innovative smart appliance that eliminates the possibility of human error in coffee brewing, such as making the coffee too strong or too weak, or somehow getting grounds into the carafe.

Via Firebox

Via the accompanying app, simply specify how much coffee you want brewed, your desired strength, and then activate or schedule the coffee maker to being brewing. All you have to do is periodically refill it with whole coffee beans and water and remove the used grounds; the machine grinds only the beans it needs for each brew, ensuring that you have the freshest, most delicious coffee each and every time. The Smarter Coffee Maker can currently be preordered for about $230 and is expected to ship in late May.

Amazon Echo Voice Assistant

Users of iOS devices have Siri at their beck and call while Windows Mobile offers Cortana and Android users have Google or Google Now. Echo—created by online retail mecca Amazon—could be compared to Google, Siri, and Cortana, but it’s a voice assistant for your home rather than a mobile device.
Via Amazon

Amazon Echo is a nine-inch cylindrical Bluetooth and WiFi smart speaker with seven internal microphones with a multicolored LED ring and two physical buttons on its top. It can play music from connected devices like any other wireless speaker, but Echo has impressive brains that make it an incredibly innovative device. Inside Echo lives Alexa, the female voice that can control your connected devices, answer your questions, and so on. And since there are a number of powerful microphones inside Echo, Alexa can hear you speaking at normally volume from across a large room and can deduce whether you’re talking to her or to an actual person; in other words, no more yelling. There’s also an app that gives you full control of Echo directly as well as the included mini remote control.

Via Amazon

Essentially, there’s not much that Echo can do that Google Now or Siri can’t do at the moment. However, Echo is cloud-connected and, with future updates, promises full integration with smart home tech, which is going to make Echo astronomically more useful, a must-have accessory of home automation systems. Right now Amazon Echo can only be purchased from Amazon by invitation, but anyone can request an invitation to purchase Echo for $199; Prime members invited to purchase Echo are offered a reduced price of $99.

Quirky Aros Smart Air Conditioner

Say goodbye to those unsightly window units that have to constantly be adjusted and readjusted in order to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. The first thing that many notice about Aros—the smart air conditioner developed by Quirky, known for the Wink home automation platform—is its sleek, attractive design. The 8,000 BTU unit is all-over white and displays the temperature at which it’s set via the discrete LEDs in the front corner. Once it’s connected to the Wink app via your home network, you can control the Aros remotely whether you’re sitting two feet away or leaving work.
Via Amazon

The main purpose of Aros is to keep your home cool while using as little energy as possible. One function that allows the Quirky Aros to do this is the Smart Away feature, which uses geotagging with your phone’s GPS to detect when you leave home and when you return; this allows Aros to turn itself down or off when you leave, but to begin cooling as you approach your home. The Aros is available for many retailers and has recently dropped in price, allowing you to pick up this smart air conditioning unit for between $250 and $279 just in time for summer.

Kwikset Kevo Smart Lock

Of the smart locks and deadbolts on the market currently, the Kwikset Kevo is arguably the most capable, functional, and full-featured. Kevo gives you three secure ways to unlock your door and enter your home: Using either the traditional metal key, the included key fob, or by turning your smartphone into an electronic key, or eKey. Any smartphone with compatible Bluetooth can be assigned either a temporary or permanent eKey, then users simply touch the Kevo lock while holding onto their smartphone and the door will unlock.

Additionally, Kevo connects to your home network in order to function as part of your smart home as it’s compatible with many other home automation tech like the Nest Learning Thermostat and Wink platform. It can also be setup in such a way that the door automatically unlocks as you approaching using your smartphone’s NFC capabilities. Kevo is fairly simple to install and can be locked and unlocked remotely using the accompanying app, which is also how you assign eKeys to other residents of your home as well as to temporary visitors. The Kwikset Kevo smart lock is available for $219 from a number of retailers.

For more home automation ideas, head to 
The smartwatch craze is still officially on the rise and it seems that every techie-tuned company wants to cash-in on the newfangled futuristic stylings of wristwatches that do more than the run-of-the-mill tick-tocking. It wasn’t too long ago that the Galaxy Gear and the new Pebble Steel smartwatches were released, ingratiating some generally positive reviews in their own right. But the ever evolving, ever creatively steadfast Motorola Company is anteing-up with a new glamorous gizmo, a revisit from its previous foray into the smartwatch game (i.e., the Moto 360’s less charming older brother, the Moto Actv) that may help to take smartwatch dynamics to a new level. Let’s take a look at the details!

Moto 360 Functionality
One of the coolest aspects of the Moto 360 is that it will be completely compatible with hosting all Android Wear featuring, supporting everything that Android Wear does on top of additional customized notifications, voice action commands and stacked cards. That being said, the 360 will be synergistic with Android devices running 4.3 or higher. It’s battery-life is apparently very solid as well, and although the word isn’t completely out yet, there seem to be some interesting developments concerning the 360’s method of battery charging. Motorola isn’t saying how the 360 will charge itself just yet, but it can be assumed that the smartwatch will utilize something along the lines of inductive charging, void of needing a USB port. Plus, when one physically observes the Moto 360, no trace of external charging points can be found. This will definitely add a lot of extra hype and a few bonus points on the chic, fashionable factor scale.
It’s worth noting that there is no camera function on the Moto 360. But don’t be too surprised. Every gizmo nowadays has a camera, but apparently when it comes to smartwatches, users just aren’t interested in a photo-taking functionality being present. People just want the watch to give them their desired information at a quick glance, nothing more. Keeping in step with this concept, the Moto 360 scrolls its notifications vertically versus horizontally like most others like the Sony SmartWatch 2. Its believed that a vertical scroll will offer more ease and fluidity to visualization and reading.
The Moto 360’s Design
Motorola designers wanted to achieve some specific upgrades with the 360 that just aren’t present or up to par in other smartwatches. Firstly, there’s the actual rounded shape of the watch-face. This is more than just a fashion choice as it allows for a more spacious viewing surface area and offers more wrist comfort than the pointed boxy watch-faces. The attributed Android Wear notifications are specifically better-suited for a rounded watch-face than a squared one as it pointed attracts the users eyes to the center of its screen. Plus, it really does look cool.
The watch bands themselves will be interchangeable, and having learned from previous smartwatch models it has been observed that this is a more important issue than one might immediately assume. Personalization and comfort are crucial, and Motorola designers have given that a bright spotlight and allowed for easily swapped-out wrist-bands made from premium quality materials.
Moto 360

Granted this dedication to comfort and upper-tier quality, one shouldn’t expect that the Moto 360 will be a moderately priced item. This techie titan was pieced together from the bottom up with carefully crafted concepts of customization, including special screens, various parts and internal chips. High quality leather and metals are incorporated to allow for not only a highly functional, but fashionable piece of merchandise. But not just so for a specific target audience of potential buyers, but everyone. One of the failings of the overall smartwatch push is that these products tend to lean toward the bulkier side, making them a bit more cumbersome for the female wrist. The Moto 360 seeks to achieve the proper balance of fit to accommodate a wider demographic.
Release Date and Other Specifics
No official release date has been made available just yet aside from the vague ‘summer of 2014 or beyond’ timeframe. As for the price of the Moto 360, this remains to be a mystery as well, but it’s easily assumed it’ll cost a pretty shiny penny given the materials and design put into it creation. Also, surprisingly there is not much to be said about the internal workings of the device either. No details concerning processors or memory have been outlined just yet. Some things remain yet to be seen, but it’s certainly something to set your timer for while we look at the clock and wait patiently. 

About Author: - Ezra Melino is an all-around-geek turned serious blogger out of North Carolina who not-so-secretly relishes an in-print love affair with everything from technology and multimedia entertainment to film and thehopper. He has written for and managed multiple tech blogs that are devoted to exploring new technological developments all around the world.