Tag Archives: CNET

ADT teams up with IFTTT to customize home security

With the smart home market prepared to surge, home security leader ADT has fostered a new partnership with web automation service If This Then That (IFTTT).

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ADT Pulse, the company’s existing automation service, will now include the capability for users to communicate with the hundreds of channels controllable by IFTTT. According to Mashable, this new partnership will allow developers and users to create recipes that work with door locks, thermostats, lights, cameras, appliances, and the main security system.

“We like to think of it like Lego pieces — you can make whatever you want out of it,” Arthur Orduna, ADT Chief Innovation Officer tells Mashable. “We are trying to be really cognizant of how people consume things today and do everything we can to make everything on demand.”

The newfound IFTTT integration will open up new opportunities for consumers such as receiving a live feed of their doorstep as the doorbell rings. With countless possible command “recipes,” ADT hopes users will have a simplified, personalized experience. Some of these proposed IFTTT recipes suggested by ADT include:

  • If a wearable changes from “sleep” to “awake,” then disarm the ADT Pulse security system.
  • If phone alarm goes off at 6:45 a.m., then turn on the ADT Pulse-connected coffee machine.
  • If Life360® family members are away from home, then lock ADT Pulse-connected doors and arm ADT Pulse security system “away.”
  • If the temperature outside is above 85 degrees, then change an ADT Pulse-connected thermostat to 70 degrees.
  • If a user texts “DogDoor”, then unlock the ADT Pulse-connected back door.
  • If the doorbell rings, then send me an ADT Pulse real-time video clip of the front door.
  • If the sun sets, then turn on ADT Pulse-connected outdoor lights.

While a customizable experience is highly desirable for home security users, there are inherent risks of opening a secure platform to countless new applications. With countless applications having access to a home’s security measures, there is undoubtedly a reason to be concerned about possible hacking.

Writing for CNETRy Cris relayed these concerns to ADT, which revealed that the team is promising to take things slow. “Exposing an existing home security system to so many new devices at once could potentially expose it to new vulnerabilities, however. If a third-party device that’s capable of turning the alarm off through IFTTT is easily hacked, for instance, that’s a real problem.”

“By integrating with IFTTT, ADT suddenly becomes compatible with dozens of new Web tools and third-party connected gadgets. It’s potentially, a very savvy defensive play, as small-scale, forward-thinking security startups with an eye on automation seem to be gaining traction,” Cris adds.

The new IFTTT channel will go through several months of beta testing before ADT opens it up to the public next year. At that point, the group aspires to have accounted for any possible security breaches.

Speaking of simplifying home programming with IFTTT, a team of computer science researchers from Brown and Carnegie Mellon universities recently adapted a method of programming known as “trigger-action” to more effectively communicate with IoT smart home devices.

Is Leap Sheep the new Flappy Bird?

There have been quite a number of hardware crossovers in the gaming world as of late, with the physical incarnation of Fawn Qiu’s Flappy Bird taking the Maker world by storm.

As CNET’s Amanda Kooser reports, the Arduino-powered Flappy Bird in a box uses a scrolling background with two controls to move the bird up and down to avoid obstacles. One wrong move and the box lid closes, playing a “game over” sound.

“I think creating a physical game makes the playing experience more approachable. It’s no longer just one player and the phone, but people around you are also aware of the game, which invites collaboration and curiosity,” Fawn told CNET. “Each win and loss is more dramatic, surprising and exciting.”

Recently, a Maker by the name of Tom Randle created a small robot to play Leap Sheep for him on the iPad. While not a full hardware crossover, the Leap Sheep ‘bot has nevertheless garnered considerable attention, with a write up of the project authored by Kevin C. Tofel prominently featured on Gigagom.

According to Tofel, Randle uses an Atmel-based Arduino Uno board (ATmega328) to power the brains of his game-playing robot, which has solenoids and capacitive styli in place of finders.

“A light sensor checks screen brightness and since the sheep are white, they’re relatively easy for the robot to spot,” writes Tofel. “The robot runs on JavaScript, with earlier versions [coded] in Python.”

Randle says his creation isn’t perfect yet, as the original aim was to build a robot that was better at playing the game than a human.

“At the moment, it’s not quite there. The longest I’ve had it running continuously so far is about 5 minutes: 110 sheep,” he explains. “Occasionally it just misses a very fast or slow sheep, and because the solenoids are fixed there’s no way for it to recover. I’m sure with a bit more tweaking I can get it to do much better, but I may have to add a second row of LDRs to more accurately measure the speed of each sheep.”

Interested in learning more? You can check out the Leap Sheep cheating machine on the project’s official page here.