Us humans have been dreaming of smart homes for a long time. It's no surprise why: your home is your place of comfort and relaxation, your shelter away from the harshness of the world. Why not make things as easy and convenient as possible?
Lights you can turn on and off from bed, an AI you can ask for on-demand information, automation that can get your breakfast ready in the morning. We've always wanted to live the Jetsons lifestyle, and we get closer every day.
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But it still feels like the Internet of Things is fighting against the Internet of Crap. We want a smart home that takes out the effort, otherwise what's the point? This week we've seen some shiny new gadgets that have us more excited for the connected house of the future, and some that are more questionable.
How shiny we talking?
So shiny you can literally see yourself. That's where Duo's AI-powered smart mirror comes in.
Wait, a mirror?
Yeah! Well, it's not just a mirror. It's a 27-inch 1080p display with five-point touchscreen that runs a custom operating system with an SDK. So it'll overlay all the information you need for your day.
So you just tap around the mirror like a gigantic iPad Pro.
Nope. It's got an AI named Alfred baked in and ready to serve. He can play your Spotify library, control your smart home gadgets, like thermostats or lightbulbs, checks the news and weather, plays videos and runs apps.
...everything but the kitchen sink.
Not until you get a smart faucet. Oh! It also recognizes other people and will change things up accordingly. So if your significant other comes along and starts talking to Alfred, he'll tune into their customized setup.
This is too good to be true.
Maybe not. Duo is aiming to ship in October for $399, which is an early bird price $200 less than what it'll officially price at.
Ok, so the smart home is sounding pretty neat!
Well, if Duo is on one side of the aisle, the SureFlap Microchip Pet Door Connect is probably on the other.
A smart... pet door?
Basically. It lets you know when your pet leaves or enters the house with a notification.
Goodbye pet privacy.
Yeah, it'll track their activity and let you know when their behavior changes. You can also remotely lock or unlock the door from anywhere, via the app, and schedule curfews.
Maybe the lock thing is useful, but apps are a bit of a pain
Yup. And if you want a non-smartphone controller for your home, you could maybe go with the Alexa-powered Brilliant smart home controller, which replaces your light switch and controls your whole home via a touch panel.
Or you could go with the Tapdo, a tiny device that allows you to control your home with various parts of your fingers.
Yeah. So you can assign part of your index finger to control the lights, and another part to control music. You get little haptic vibrations to let you know whether your action was completed.
What if I forget which part of a finger does what?
That's probably its biggest problem: too much mental effort. After a long day at work, you want to kick off your shoes, lay down and play your music. But wait, which part of my ring finger was for music again?
Yeah, that's definitely too complex.
Yep, and then look at something like the Sleepwise concept. There's a sleep tracker that keeps track of your sleep, and a hub that keeps track of everything else, like temperature, air quality and light.
The hub will figure out how the environment is affecting your sleep and talk to all your smart devices to optimize your home for the best sleep possible.
That sounds a lot more simple.
Right. Imagine a home with both that and Duo's smart mirror. If they work as promised, then our Tony Stark and Jarvis dreams are edging closer and closer to reality.
It feels like these smart home products will actually make your home smart, and it allows you to live with added convenience. The smart home should be about simplicity, not giving you more things to think about, right?