The Clapper may have been little more than a joke in its day, but it's stuck around for a reason: Simple home automation is the basis of our Jetsons-fuelled dream. And Reemo -- a combination wristband, receiver and nothing else -- is pretty damn close to nailing it.
While existing home automation systems can do just about anything and everything without you ever leaving your couch, there's a relatively high barrier to entry in terms of tech-savvy. In other words, the people who actually need the benefits of home automation (i.e. the elderly) are also the people least likely to be able to use it.
Reemo, on the other hand, is so delightfully simple that age isn't an issue. Whether you're young or old, it's just plain cool.
Here's how it works.
Reemo is a wristband and a set of small black receivers that you pair with devices around your home -- from lamps to thermostats to TVs. There's no tearing down walls, no complicated tricks to learn. There's not even an app. There's just one simple step that connects your appliances to Reemo's wristband: You point at it from up to 100 feet away, then make one of six motions that Reemo recognises.
For example, you can set your Reemo up to turn on your lamp by rotating your wrist.
Then, you simply move your arm using that gesture and bam -- light goes on.
Reemo doesn't just control lights. In its current prototype form, it can also start and pause video. By the time its crowdfunding campaign starts, though, Reemo's COO Al Baker says it will be capable of even more, as he explained to Gizmodo recently:
It will control pretty much anything that runs on electricity.. It could be a thermostat, or an Xfinity home automation system, your TV, or even replacing your keyboard and mouse. It has a 9-axis IMU that lets you do motion tracking so it could actually be a real time mouse. So you can click on icons, move things, adjust them, draw -- whatever you want to do.
All of which sounds neat, sure. But more than just a fancy toy, Reemo also wants to provide a necessary service. Since, at least initially, the device will be targeted towards people in home-care situations, it will be able to tell when the user is interacting in their home and how. Which means peace of mind for the caretakers, who can access that information from afar.
But the beauty of Reemo is that it has the potential to be just as effective at handling more complicated tasks as it does simpler ones. This is a system that boils all user interaction down to a few, simple movements. Its brilliance is in its simplicity. It's easy to imagine how other companies could apply it to their own products -- after all, the accompanying bracelet leaves plenty of room open to activity tracking.
As with other existing home automation systems, outfitting your house with Reemo won't come cheap. A starter kit, which includes a band and multiple sensors, will run you between $US200 and $US250 when Reemo launches its Indiegogo campaign in August. But it's already in talks with a few companies hoping to operate on its technology. Which, hey, is more than we could ever say for The Clapper.