2014: The year of the iPhone-controlled everything

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There are some technologies that happened way earlier than they had any right to. Frankly, putting a man on the moon in the days when the Apollo Guidance Computer really did have less power than a pocket calculator was an insane achievement.

And then there are those technologies that have taken way, way longer than they should have done – with home automation heading the list. The main reason it was such a slow-burn was the lack of a standard interface (X.10 never really established itself in the home).

2014, however, looks set to be the year in which all that changes, with the iPhone the new standard interface. Steve Jobs once said that the Mac was the hub at the center of our digital lives; this year, it looks like the iPhone is taking over the crown …

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iPhone-controlled Holi mood lamp coming to the U.S. in March

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It’s like the 1970s all over again (I’m told). The modern equivalent of the lava lamp, the iPhone-controlled LED-powered Holi lamp, is expected to make its way across the Atlantic to the USA sometime in March, reports The Verge. It’s currently available only in Europe.

You can choose a theme, and let Holi choose the colors and flash-rate; create your own theme; or let the lights synchronize with the music playing on your iOS device. You can also allow the 8-inch-square Holi lamp to wake you in the morning by gently increasing the brightness …  Read more

iPhone-controlled door lock market heating up as Openways announces Okidokeys

okidokeys

A company that makes smartphone-controlled door locks for hotels has announced its first home door lock system, going by the rather cringeworthy name Okidokeys.

Once fitted, you’ll be able to unlock your front door from your iPhone (or Android handset) via Bluetooth. The locks are also compatible with RFID chips, allowing you to open them with a keycard or wristband in case your phone battery goes flat. As you’d expect from a hi-tech lock, you can also manage access and accounts online …  Read more

Review: Europe’s answer to Nest, Tado the iPhone-controlled intelligent thermostat

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Affordable home automation has been a long time coming. Frankly, I’m a bit disappointed that it’s the 21st Century and homes still don’t have Star Trek style swishy doors as standard.

But iPhone-controlled heating and lighting is here today. Nest hasn’t yet made it to the UK, so I decided to try out competitor system Tado, which is available in Europe now and expected to launch in the US at CES in Las Vegas in January.

In the UK, it costs £249 ($400) outright, or you can rent it for £7 ($11.35) a month. Tado claims you will save more on your heating costs than it costs to rent.

The concept

The idea behind Tado is three-fold. First, automation. As well as the programmable timer you have in any heating system, it also monitors the locations of everyone in the household via their iPhones (or Android phones). If everyone is out, it turns down the heating even if the timer says it should be on.

How much it turns it down depends on how far away you are, because it aims to have it back up to temperature by the time you return. Nip out to the local grocery store, and it won’t adjust it much, drive an hour to work and it’ll turn it down a lot …  Read more

Nest officially confirms smart smoke + carbon monoxide detector called ‘Protect’

The Nest Protect has a nice glow :-)

The Nest Protect has a nice glow :-)

We originally reported last month that Nest Labs, the company founded by famed iPod creator Tony Fadell, was readying its next product for launch soon: the smart fire detector. Nest Labs officially announced today that the ‘Nest Protect’ will be joining the lineup with the smart thermostat.

The Nest Protect detects smoke and carbon monoxide and addressses some of the flaws of modern smoke detectors and of course connects it to your iPhone in the process:

Nest believes that safety shouldn’t be annoying, so they started from scratch and built a new smoke + CO detector, the way it should be done, with advanced features under a sleek interface:

· Heads-Up: Instead of just beeping at you, Nest Protect gives you helpful vocal warnings before conditions get dangerous. And if you have more than one Nest Protect in the home, you can connect them so you’ll know where the danger is, no matter which room you’re in.

· Nest Wave: No more climbing on chairs to reach your detector. You can silence Nest Protect by simply waving at it.

· Mobile app: Get low-battery alerts and Emergency Alarm notifications on your smartphone or tablet.

· Pathlight: Nest Protect glows white as you pass under it at night, lighting your way in the dark.

The smoke + carbon monoxide detector itself has a design similar to our Apple products as it resembles Apple’s previous generation Airport Extreme base station. I really like the idea of silencing an alarm with just a wave. Wrestling with a tiny disengage button in a commotion is the last thing anyone wants. Check out availability information and the official promotional video below:  Read more

Crowdfunding roundup: eleMount car & camera mount, TILT Stealth Cooling Station, Piper home automation, more

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As the success stories keep piling up, so do the number of projects filling up crowdfunding websites with, among other things, neat hardware- and software-related products. Some projects, like Pebble, gain thousands of supporters as well as millions of dollars in funding (and end up at Best Buy’s retail stores). Other projects flop and don’t reach their necessary funding amount.

Rather than make you sift through all of these projects, we’re rounding up the best or most notable projects from around the web and delivering them to you in a simple roundup.

If there’s a project that you’ve backed – or even a project that you founded – be sure to leave a link below so it can be considered for the next roundup.

  • eleMount: Premium Car & Camera Mount for iPhone & iPad (Kickstarter project) – These aluminum mounts with polyurethane pads are sleek and versatile. The project exceeded its goal extremely quickly and expects to have these shipped out in December.
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