Tag Archives: smart home

This smart fridge will make sure you don’t run out of Bud Light

Bud-E is a smart beer fridge provides real-time updates to ensure you never run out of Bud Light on game day.

Want a surefire way to never be asked to host another Monday Night Football party? Run out of beer. Luckily, it looks like the Internet of Things has come to the rescue, preventing such situations from ever arising. That’s because Bud Light has tapped into the IoT by creating a Wi-Fi-connected fridge, which provides real-time updates on the status of your supply right on your smartphone.


The aptly named Bud-E Fridge is a first-of-its-kind smart home appliance, ideal for every man cave, that enables you to easily keep tabs on the number of Bud Light cans and bottles inside, when they are cold enough to drink, and where you can find nearby stores to replenish the stock should it run low, all from its accompanying mobile app. Even better, those living in cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego can even order more brew with the press of a button and have it delivered to their doorstep — without ever having to leave the sofa.

Developed in collaboration with Buzz Connect and Linq IQ, the Bud-E Fridge and its app allows fans to program their favorite teams so that the Bud-E Fridge can keep them in the know for upcoming games. When an event is approaching, the intelligent device will immediately send an alert if your game day supply of Bud Light is in need of replenishment.


As aforementioned, the Bud-E Fridge offers an accurate count of your fridge — which holds up to 78 cans or 60 12-ounce bottles and 18 cans — along with a timer indicating when your Bud Light is expected to reach optimal serving temperature. The must-have appliance will also notify you if you’re running low via your phone, regardless of whether an upcoming game is about to take place.

Meanwhile, the outside of the Bud-E Fridge is equipped with a dashboard that can be set to either show the amount of beer remaining or the temperature inside. Plus, the unit boasts a fuel gauge-like display that reveals how empty/full the fridge is at any given time.

Intrigued? Check out its official page here, or watch the fridge’s teaser below!

Angee is an autonomous home security system

This smart system doubles as both your security guard and personal assistant.

Did you know that every 13 seconds, a home is broken into in the United States? In fact, 41% of burglaries happen when a system isn’t armed. Although it’d be nice to have guards protecting our homes, not all of us have that luxury or the convenience.


Angee is an advanced security and communication system that changes how you protect and connect to your humble abode. The device provides a 360-degree view of your household and is loaded with several valuable features, including voice recognition, at-the-door identification, motion-detecting rotation, advanced learning and cordless portability. By learning the daily habits of your family members, Angee can autonomously arm and disarm herself.

Setting up Angee is easy — you simply connect the device with your smartphone and add security points around throughout your rooms to secure your home. The unit provides full perimeter protection by using security tags on your doors and windows so the system knows exactly who comes and goes. In fact, it can determine suspicious activity such as movement by someone it doesn’t recognize through detecting entry and exit patterns, changes in background noise, Bluetooth signal in phones and voice differentiation. If Angee happens to sense suspicious activity, a notification is sent to your smartphone (or smartwatch) via its accompanying app so you can stream video in real-time. Plus, you can receive updates on temperature, humidity or just take a look around, if you so choose.


At roughly five by three inches, Angee boasts an ARM processor at its core and weighs about 1.3 pounds. Angee’s camera rotates to provide full coverage of a room and employs an array of six passive infrared sensors for 360-degree motion detection. The security tags are powered by two AAA-batteries and feature Bluetooth connectivity, which is not only used to wirelessly communicate with Angee, but also sense nearby phones to identify who is home. And should the power go out, not to worry. The gadget’s built-in battery enables it to sustain energy, and more importantly, continue monitoring. Similarly, if your Wi-Fi goes offline, Angee will alert you while still recording any activity and saving the footage to its local storage.

The makers of Angee built the system by learning from people’s experience with early versions of smart security systems. The team has focused on creating the smartest home security system ever — one that is useful, convenient, and tailored to each individual’s needs. And that’s not all. It can double as a personal assistant by recording all-too-often missed moments for a family member who is away, answering calls, checking the calendar and even reminding you to close the windows if rain is in the forecast.


“In the future, smart hardware and technologies will be omnipresent. They will be easy to use and perfectly integrated into our environment. These systems will understand and predict what we need, saving us time and energy, and making our lives easier and more productive. Angee is a big step toward this future,” explains CEO and co-founder Tomas Turek.

Sound like the system you’ve been looking for? Head over to Angee’s Kickstarter campaign, where the team is currently seeking $250,000. Delivery is estimated for October 2016.

FLUID is a smart water meter for your home

This smart device allows you to conserve water, save money and detect leaks by monitoring usage in real-time.

Did you know that each person uses about 80-100 gallons of water per day? Flush a toilet? That’s three gallons. Wash a load of laundry? That’s another 25 gallons. Brush your teeth? One more gallon. And this statistic doesn’t include outdoor water use by sprinkler systems either. With a vast majority of the U.S. west coast experiencing drought conditions, H2O consumption has never been so paramount.


Luckily, one Minneapolis-based startup has developed what they’re calling the world’s first learning water meter that will help you to become more mindful. The aptly name FLUID has been designed for easy installation — simply snap the device around the main pipeline coming into your home, plug it in and connect it to your Wi-Fi network.

FLUID will help you better understand exactly when, where and how much water you’re consuming on a regular basis by providing real-time reports on its accompanying mobile app. By employing ultrasonic pulses, the jig is able to measure the velocity, flow and transit time of the water without ever having to cut into the pipe. This can all then be visualized on your phone.


Whats’s even more impressive is that it can even identify and track usage by appliance or fixture. In other words, it knows exactly where the water is coming from and enables you to learn the flow pattern associated with that appliance or fixture’s run cycle. The end result? Quantifiable data that lets you to see just how much H2O you’re using in the shower, doing the laundry, flushing the toilet, irrigating the lawn and so forth.

“Amazing things can happen once you become more connected to the water you use. You’ll become more aware of how many loads of laundry you are doing weekly, the length of your showers and other habits and behaviors,” the FLUID team writes.


And that’s not all, it only takes one small would-have-been occurrence for FLUID to pay for itself! When it detects constant or erratic water use, a notification will be sent to your phone indicating that there may be a possible leak or water that has been left running.

“It could be as simple as a garden hose that was left on, a running toilet, or in a worst case scenario a pipe bursts when you are away from your home on a trip or an errand. FLUID gives you the peace of mind that you won’t return home to huge water bills or thousands of dollars in water damages,” its creators explain.


Beyond making recommendations, FLUID empowers you to set monthly water consumption goals and keep tabs on your progress. In the future, the team hopes to integrate the tool with existing smart home hubs, such as Nest, WeMo and SmartThings, and provide a REST API so developers can design their own integrations.

Ready to become more mindful of water in and around your house? Check out FLUID’s Kickstarter campaign, where it is currently seeking $95,000. Pending all goes to plan, the first batch of units is expected to ship out sometime in May 2016.

Branto is a remote presence and security devic

This smart orb lets your home feel, speak, entertain and protect you. 

Have you always wished that you could be in two places at once? As impossible as it was, thanks to the ever-evolving Internet of Things, it may soon become a reality. That’s because a Ukranian startup has developed a streamlined, versatile wireless device that will let your home feel, speak, entertain, and most importantly, protect your loved ones.


For instance, say you and your significant other are away on vacation, thousands of miles from home. Your mother is there with your three young grandchildren, but you can’t stop worrying about the kids. You also know that no one will be around during the day. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a smart robot that could keep an eye on things and communicate with you regardless of your location, putting all anxieties to rest?

Branto is just that: a remote presence orb equipped with an HD camera that can rotate 360-degrees to provide users with a full panoramic view of every room in their house, warning them of problems like water or gas leaks, and giving ultimate control of their appliances over Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, ZigBee and infrared. This should come as a sigh of relief to those who leave the house always wondering as to whether or not they shut off the oven or unplugged their hair accessories.


Beyond that, Branto includes bi-directional microphones that allow users to hear everything that is going on inside their residence, and enables them talk to inhabitants through high-quality speakers, whether that’s urging a pet to hop off the counter, a child to listen to their babysitter or a wife sending a quick reminder to their husband. In other words, the spherical gadget can act as the eyes, ears, voice and hands of tomorrow’s smart home using its accompanying mobile app (Android and iOS).

As if that weren’t enough, the intelligent platform lets users host video calls with colleagues by connecting to a TV, stream music and radio through its built-in speakers, adjust the thermostat, as well as turn the lights on and off from anywhere. What’s more, Branto can serve as an all-in-one security system with a night-vision camera, plus motion and sound detectors, that notifies owners of any suspicious activity around their house via its app.

Born out of their own frustrations with modern-day smart home hubs that only worked with a limited number of devices, the team made it a priority to integrate a number of popular appliances including Philips Hue, Belkin WeMo, Nest and FirstAlert, among several others. In the forthcoming months, Branto hopes to seamlessly work with any existing unit that supports ZigBee, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.


What’s nice is that various Brantos can be linked together for widespread coverage. And with its embedded GSM module and 3000mAh LiPo battery, the orb will work even if the Wi-Fi or power in a home should go out — especially helpful for security purposes. It has internal memory of 16GB (which can be upgraded to either 32GB or 64GB), along with the option of storing content in the cloud. Everything is safeguarded by two-factor authentication, and data is encrypted when stored or transferred.

Sound like a full remote presence gadget you’d love to have? Head over to its Indiegogo campaign, where the team is well on its way towards reaching their $50,000 goal. Delivery is slated for December 2015.

The Opal is a countertop nugget ice maker for your home

A new ice age is upon us! The Opal lets you create a pound of crunchy nugget ice in an hour, right from home.

Contrary to what you may believe, ice is no longer just for chilling drinks, preserving meats and treating sprains. In areas like the South, it’s become a munchable snack for extremely hot summer days. Called nugget ice, this particular form of frozen H2O is soft and easy to chew, however outside of chain restaurants like Sonic and your local convenience store, it’s hard to come by. That was until now, at least.


FirstBuild — a co-creation space founded by GE and Local Motors — will let you satisfy your nugget cravings from right inside your own home with an affordable countertop maker. And while similar machines may already be on the market today, their price tag keeps them out of reach from most everyday consumers who aren’t looking to shell out upwards of two to three thousand dollars. Instead, Opal can soon be yours for a mere fraction of the cost ($499).

Having had the chance to see it firsthand at Maker Faire Bay Area, Opal boasts a sleek, aesthetically-pleasing design that will surely match the decor of any kitchen. The stainless steel device plugs into an electrical outlet and holds three pounds of ice, which is about as much as a typical refrigerator. Opal produces its first nuggets in 15 minutes, and can create a pound of ice each hour. The unit, which measures 16.5” x 10.5” x 14”, includes a crystal-clear, removable bin that easily slides out and tilts forward for access to the ice, as well as a capacitive touch interface for control. And you know what makes it even cooler (no pun intended)? It has an Arduino Micro (ATmega32U4) driving its indicator light!


What’s more, the Opal can be plugged into any standard 120V outlet and doesn’t require a dedicated water line to operate. The machine works by packing together small ice crystals, forming nuggets of soft yet crunchy ice. Not only do they cool down beverages like your coffee or soda faster than conventional cubes, the air pockets in each nugget absorb the flavor of the drink as it drops in temp, leaving a chewable and tasty refreshment for those who enjoy snacking on the ice when the liquid is gone.

For those unfamiliar with the community, FirstBuild is a new model of manufacturing that challenges Makers from around the world to dream up home appliance innovations. Earlier this year, Atmel had the opportunity to sponsor its inaugural 33-hour mega hackathon that brought together more than 200 DIYers, designers and engineers at its microfactory in Louisville to mod and build sci-fi-like equipment for the smart house of tomorrow. Evident by the sheer volume of ingenuity from that weekend, the crowdsourced design of Opal is just the beginning of real IoT applications generated by the Maker community.


Want one for your kitchen? The wait is almost over, as Opal made its debut on Indiegogo on July 28th — a date that also marked the one-year anniversary of FirstBuild. Keep in mind, this isn’t the co-creation community’s first crowdfunding effort either. Back in January, the team garnered over $316,000 for its Paragon Induction Cooktop, and the nugget ice maker has well surpassed its sibling’s success. The Opal ranks ninth on Indiegogo’s top 10 list of campaigns that have raised the most funds in 24 hours, and the 13th fastest to reach the half million dollar mark.

The initial batch of units is expected to begin shipping in July 2016 — right in time to help keep cool next summer!

Luzi is a smart lamp that will improve your sleep

Luzi isn’t just a smart lamp that helps you sleep better, it may very well be the smartest lamp ever made.

If it’s up to one Palo Alto startup, sleepless nights may finally become a thing of the past. That’s because they have developed a new sophisticated smart lamp specifically designed to improve an individual’s quality of sleep, while giving its users bedside control of the devices around them.


The Luzi Smart Lamp is an advanced sleep system that uses the combination of therapeutic light, personalized sound and voice commands to help users ease into their nightly slumber much faster and wake up more refreshed. What’s more, its creators have put an entire control station on the nightstand, enabling its users to light up the room, tell it the time that they would like to be woken, as well as sync the tower with other smart home appliances.

In addition to a touchscreen display that doubles as an alarm and a personalized clock face that can show things such as temperature, weather reports and the date, Luzi boasts four USB ports capable of powering multiple phones and tablets, Qi and PMA-certified wireless charging capabilities, and even a charging stand for Apple Watch owners. Embedded with LEDs, the lamp can adjust between various colors from a warm, orange glow to a soft, white light. According to its creators, the accessory emulates natural daylight to keep a user’s circadian rhythm in check and assist in soothing them to sleep. Throughout the night, the system functions by maintaining the user’s ideal sleep state, whereas by morning, Luzi uses new sounds and light to gently wake the user.


“Luzi is the most advanced smart lamp ever made,” explains Joel Burke, co-founder and CEO. “Studies have found a direct correlation between the quality of one’s sleep with various health problems. Our expectation is that Luzi will help to remedy these issues and promote better sleep habits.”

Meanwhile, Luzi is equipped with a microphone that listens to voice commands and automatically detects snoring, along with built-in Bluetooth speakers to talk back and a temperature sensor for measuring the ambient temperature of a room. Designed with the Internet of Things in mind, the unit is compatible with a plethora of third party smart gadgets like Switchmate, Fitbit, LifeQ, Lockitron and Luna, which means users can interact with their connected home by voice, too.

Ready for a good night’s sleep? Head over to Luzi’s Indiegogo campaign, where the team is currently seeking $50,000. Delivery is slated for March 2016.

Squirco is a smart home system and sensor network

Maker develops a smart home system with self-learning capabilities, using sensors hidden in every room.

Undoubtedly, the rise of the Internet of Things has ushered in a big wave of smart devices. Packed with sensors, these gadgets will ultimately revolutionize the way in which people go about their daily lives — at work, in the car and at home. With respect to the latter, a recent Hackaday Prize entrant by the name of Steven points that there are two basic building blocks for constructing a connected home: a sensor network and an A.I.-based control system. In other words, a smart house can only be “smart” when a complete set of information is sent to the A.I., which in turn, figures out what to do autonomously. Otherwise, it just becomes another thing to point a remote control at.


“Instead of automating anything, all they give you is the power of remote control. These systems also have little to no intelligence, and mostly rely on the users to set up every minuscule detail about how the system should operate. As a result, a tremendous amount of work is added to the user (which completely defeats the purpose of a smart home system), and sealing off regular, non-tech users from joining the fray,” Steven writes.

While there are a number of sensors available on the market today, a vast majority are battery-powered and are far too conspicuous to be adorning the walls. With that in mind, the Maker has developed a new approach with his self-learning Squirco Smart Home System that uses a series of sensors hidden within light switches throughout each room.


Why light switches, you may ask? “They are plugged into the mains, which means they never run out of power. They are present in every room, which means the data set will be complete. They are inconspicuous, because they’re everywhere,” Steven explains.

The Maker has his sights on curating a complete set of data that would be provided to an A.I. unit and used to learn in-home behaviors. This basic set of information includes lighting conditions, temperature and humidity and human presence.


The system itself is based on an ATmega256RFR2 along with a Bluetooth Low Energy MCU. With this, Steven has managed to enable automatic smart bulb discovery and pairing, light use pattern learning, precise climate control with his Nest thermostat, presence learning that allows messages to be sent to a smartphone when someone is detected in or around the home, as well as a ‘vacation mode’ which triggers lights to make it appear as though someone is home while away. Beyond that, he has embedded an iBeacon in each switch, along with the learned usage patterns, to put the most relevant lighting control right at a user’s finger tip.

The electronics are all housed inside a 3D-printed case, while powered via microUSB. In order to simplify the user experience, Steven decided to forgo gesture control and instead leave it to pushing the button. He adds, “It was very important to get the feel of the click just right. The click had to have a sharp, tactile feel, and also have the right amount of travel.”


Over the course of his prototyping process, Steven has modified various components, which he elaborately lists in his Hackaday.io page’s log section. Among those tweaks included moving around its LEDs and PIR, repositioning pin headers, and even toying around with an ATtiny85 to control the relay. Want to learn more about the project? Head over to its official page here.

Flare is a smart home security system that can make smart decisions

With Flare, you can forget about alarm codes, maintenance contracts or difficult installation. 

As futuristic as a number of smart home devices may be, the market has generally lacked an all-in-one solution that was not only simple to use but just as easy to afford. That is an issue that Berlin-based startup BuddyGuard is hoping to solve with its comprehensive, self-managing security system.


What a user will notice is that unlike other units available today, Flare uses artificial intelligence to protect one’s living quarters. Designed with simplicity in mind, the mini UFO-like gadget provides users with unprecedented freedom as they will never have to constantly check their smartphone for alerts again.

BuddyGuard’s latest product packs a 1080p camera, a microphone, a speaker and a siren. Not only is it both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low Energy-enabled, it even has a 3G cellular module for uninterrupted access should the Internet go down. Beyond that, users can power Flare through a wall outlet or a rechargeable lithium-ion batteries in te event of an outage. Each unit is also equipped with a temperature sensor to detect a change in an environment as well as an acceleromter to sense any tampering.

Flare activates whenever a resident leaves their home or apartment, and by combining its embedded technologies, can remain cognizant of what’s going on in and around a home at all times. What’s more, it will take action automatically should there be any suspicious activities by notifying the authorities. This includes giving off the impression that someone is home by emitting typical household sounds through its loudspeaker to drive away burglars away.


Impressively, Flare can decipher between a homeowner and an intruder, and will instantaneously turn off its camera and microphone if it recognizes their face, and reactivate itself if it spots an unfamiliar face not found in the cloud database. It’s also supposed to respond to voice commands, so a user should be able to tell it that they’ll be away on vacation for a week and it will know to remain vigilant the entire time. In other words, no more dealing with codes!

BuddyGuard’s innovation allows users to update a trusted contacts list as well, by adding or deleting friends, family, neighbors and others. This way, if a house sitter swings by, Flare will be able to authenticate them as a welcome visitor, and then revert back to standby mode. Aside from voice and facial recognition, it employs the geolocation of its owner’s smartphone to deactivate and cover the camera just as they arrive home. Good news for those with their hands full of groceries!

Given it’s DIY disposition, BuddyGuard design the system to be super simple to setup (in less than 10 minutes) with minimal effort required. The device is equipped with a magnetic base, which will affix to just about any surface with some adhesive tape. Not to mention, users can extend the system’s functionalities through IFTTT. Meaning, Flare can communicate with other apps and connected appliances to create simple action-reaction recipes.


Like a majority of smart home security units, all of Flare’s functions can be controlled from any iOS, Android or Windows phone. What’s more, the app provides real-time information about what’s going on at home. With its sleek design and compact size (only 1″ x 4”), BuddyGuard’s latest take on home security will be a welcomed addition to any abode.

Sound like something you’d want to safeguard your home? BuddyGuard has just about wrapped up its Kickstarter campaign, where the team successfully garnered over $170,000. Shipment is expected to begin in December 2015.

Peeple is like a caller ID for your front door

Peeple sends you mobile notifications when someone knocks or opens the door.

Hundreds of years ago, a breakthrough in door design enabled people to see who was at their front step without the risk and inconvenience of actually opening the wooden portal. When someone wanted to look out, they simply glanced through the tiny door to take a peek. (Think Wizard of Oz.) Fast forward several years, that hole not only shrunk down in size but became outfitted with a fisheye lens to allow for a one-way, wider field of view of visitors. This innovation, which is commonly known as a “peephole,” first debuted in an issue of Popular Science in the 1950s and would remain unchanged for decades.


With countless connected doorbells and locks already on the market, it was only a matter of time before someone devised the idea of a smart peephole. Created by Austin-based entrepreneurs and graduates of the Highway1 accelerator, Peeple is a disc-shaped gadget that attaches to the inside of one’s door, captures a live video and sends it to an owner’s smartphone whenever someone knocks. This way, whether a user is home or away, they can easily monitor visitors coming and going.

The system consists of a circular box housing a camera, an accelerometer, a battery and a wireless chipset that mounts to an existing peephole or affixes to the glass paneling of a door. Peeple works by connecting to an in-home Wi-Fi network and then transmitting a mobile notification whenever someone approaches the door. An embedded sensor detects vibrations from a visitor’s knuckles, which triggers the device to record a live feed and wirelessly relay those images and its timestamp to Peeple’s servers. From there, a user receives a push notification on their smartphone via its accompanying app (available in both iOS and Android).


What’s more, Peeple is activated if the door opens. This means users will be alerted if an uninvited guest has entered their home, a child or an elderly family member has let themselves out, or if an intruder has broken in. There is also a history of all knocks and openings.

For those who have ever wondered how many people come by when they’re not home, now they’ll know. Whether it’s securing the premises, keeping tabs on housecleaners or tracking UPS deliveries, this modern-day solution gives users the ability to screen their doors in the way that they screen their incoming calls with caller ID. Not to mention, since it only wakes up when someone is knocking, Peeple has a battery life of up to six months on a single charge.


Looking for an IoT savvy accessory for your front door? Take a peek at Peeple’s Kickstarter page, where the team is currently seeking $50,000. Shipment is expected to begin in May 2016.

Nuimo is a universal interface for the IoT

Nuimo is an intuitive and natural way to control your smart lights, locks, thermostats and other apps.

With the number of connected gizmos and gadgets entering the market on the rise, there will undoubtedly be a need for a universal smart controller that commands them all from one place. And while the smartphone may be the go-to remote at the moment, Nuimo is looking to introduce a much more intuitive, user-friendly interface that doesn’t necessarily have to be joined to the hip of a person.


The brainchild of Berlin-based startup Senic, Nuimo is an entirely programmable, wireless controller that can be used anywhere on just about any IoT object. The puck-like device offers a sleek, natural interface and four basic ways of interaction — click its disc, turn its dial, swipe its surface and gesture above it. Currently available in both black or white, it will be a welcomed addition to any smart home.

Beyond its aesthetics, Nuimo can be integrated right into an assortment of today’s most popular apps and appliances, including Spotify, YouTube, Netflix, Nest thermostats, Philips Hue LEDs, LIFX bulbs, Lockitron smart locks, as well as be paired with any computer as long as it has Bluetooth Low Energy connectivity. Nuimo also features a configurable 11×11 LED matrix that shows simple graphics through its face, allowing users to change programs on the fly or display a timer app in places like the kitchen.


“Unlike the touchscreen, Nuimo has a number of touch-based inputs that feel familiar and suit your needs. It incorporates capacitive touch, gesture recognition and a 360-degree analog ring that gives you precise control over everything from the volume of your music to switching off your lights. These inputs are easily mappable to the devices and applications you care about most,” its team writes.

Like a number of successful Kickstarter campaigns before it, the Nuimo team turned to the stalwart Atmel based Arduino platform for rapid prototyping. And to no surprise, Senic has even made it so that the all-in-one controller can sync with Arduino and other DIY projects. Since it was built on an open platform, Nuimo enables developers to create even more integration with their favorite apps and smart devices over time.


With a magnetic mount and a rechargeable battery life of up to four months, Nuimo can be placed pretty much anywhere. Sound like something you’d want in your smart home? Head over to its Kickstarter page, where the team has already surpassed its pledge goal of $61,374. Shipment is expected to kick off in October 2015.