Quirky, the company that helps turn crazy inventions into things you can actually buy, has announced seven new gizmos to help raise the IQ of your home. They include inexpensive devices that detect moisture levels or energy consumption, but also one product — a smart thermostat — aimed at giving smart home leaders like Nest some quality competition.
Quirky, which developed the new devices through an ongoing partnership with GE, describes The Norm as the "death to the thermostat", and says its intelligence only grows with however many cogs are turning in your smart home machine. The Norm interacts with other sensors around the house (Quirky suggests its own Aros or Wink Relay) to react to temperature, energy costs, humidity, and can also determine your approximate location, so it can heat up or cool down what areas you're actually using.
This device feeds into Quirky's Wink app, so you can control everything right from your smartphone, but it needs to be paired with the upcoming touchscreen control panel Wink Relay or the new Wink HUB in order to work "seamlessly," according to Quirky.
Other new devices include Tripper, a $US40 sensor that tracks doors opening and closing, and Overflow, a $US35 gadget to help detect moisture levels. If you're worried about all these connected devices sapping up your energy, you can keep tabs on your home's power consumption with the $US50 energy monitor Outlink, and Ascend turns your dumb garage door into a connected one, allowing you to give temporary access to friends or family when needed. Meanwhile there's Tapt, a light switch for the smart home era that allows touch access to all your devices and dimming options for smart bulbs via the Wink app.
Finally, through a new program called "Uniq", the team released the Spotter Uniq, a modular sensor that's customisable and completely built to order, says Quirky. The Spotter Uniq can hold up to four separate functions — like accelerometer, passive infrared, temperature, sound or light — and starts at $US30. The price changes depending on which functionality you choose to include. The colours are even customisable between white, black and teal.
These new devices are another step forward for Quirky and GE, which want to become a serious player in smart home tech. This piecemeal approach of adding sensors as you need them, slowly creating a cohesive smart home, is a strategy shared by other companies, especially SmartThings, which was recently acquired by Samsung.
However, building a smart home that works for you is still a pretty pricey project, and it and requires a significant time commitment to get it right. But if they work as advertised, low-cost and customisable options like these could make it more accessible for the average consumer. [Quirky]