Connected Objects

Remo lets you connects your air conditioner to the internet no sweat

Anybody who owns a home knows that one of the costliest expenses is running an air conditioner, especially during the hottest months of the year.

Remo is a universal smart controller that transforms any window-mounted or through-the-wall air conditioner into a smart AC. Users can remotely turn it on via a smartphone, pre-set different temperatures for different times of the day, or set the unit to automatically turn off based on the motion sensor. Remo ships in August at future pricing of $119. But Kickstarter backers can get one with a pledge as low as $49 for super early birds. Its makers are out to raise $50,000 by June 22.

Remo joins several similar products have already done much the same thing, including tado. For now, Remo supports any AC with a remote control, its makers say. But support for ACs without remotes is planned for Remo units that ship after December.


Smart Home

Monolyth may not be full of stars, but it can learn how you use air conditioning

The Premise. The smart home may not be as smart as inventors have led people to believe. Sure, it can detect various data and respond to it whether it’s temperature, motion, light, or network connectivity, but are these devices really learning, or are they just trained? The real smart home revolution is about to begin, and it’s starting with a clever bit of climate control.

The Product. The aptly-named Monolyth is a device that can control air conditioning units based on set times, temperature and humidity sensors, air quality, or manual control over Wi-Fi or infrared. What makes the Monolyth different is that it detects the presence of users and begins to build its own schedule around what it learns, turning on based on thermostat levels to keep the air cool, but setting the appropriate temperatures based on if anyone is around to enjoy it or how cold they want it.

The Pitch. The first look at Monolyth gives a strong first impression based on what it’s capable of. With its own sense of personal style and ability to learn, the excitement for this device carries through to its campaign as well. Monolyth wants to raise $50,000 for tooling, components, and packaging.

The Perks. The Monolyth system can be picked up for just $79 and will arrive in January 2015, which is great news for those in the Southern hemisphere and in the middle of summer. Higher tiers include multiple units to control additional air conditioners.

The Potential. We’ve already looked at a few smart air conditioning units in the past, like Sensibo and tado°, but Monolyth really challenges the idea of what a smart device should be. By learning usage patterns and building an automated schedule, Monolyth does more than just look for a phone or tablet within range before starting up, it adapts to its users and expends only the energy it needs to in order to create a climate control system tailored specifically to its users. Sure, it can be overridden as needed, but the idea of a device that anticipates a customer’s needs rather than react to them is something that could really push the entire smart home market forward and will no doubt be picked up by complements and competitors moving forward.

Smart Home

Sensibo is a smart A/C remote that knows how to be cool

The Premise. In a perfect world, everyone would live in a smart, connected home that could be managed on the go and would conserve energy and cut costs. Of course, not everyone has the money to replace all of their furnishings and appliances with smart ones, but what if old ones like air conditioners could be upgraded?

The Product. Sensibo is a smart climate control system that attaches effortlessly to any air conditioning unit that is already operated by a remote. Comprised of a hub and small handheld pods that connect to the A/C units themselves, Sensibo just needs to be stuck to the surface of the air conditioner before controlling the device smartly through any smartphone, tablet, or even Pebble. The Sensibo can be programmed to change the temperature at certain times automatically or it can be adjusted through the phone in order to cut utility costs or be more responsible with energy usage.

The Pitch.  Sensibo’s campaign video is one of the most professional, entertaining, and hilarious videos in crowdfunding history. The technical specs of the device are mostly glossed over, but the sell job is extremely effective and should be effective in getting the pledges in. Anybody who wants to know more about how the device works internally can check out the rest of the campaign page for plenty of technical specifications and compartments that explain how Sensibo does what it does. Sensibo has set a goal of $70,000 to purchase components, begin tooling, and get all proper certifications.

The Perks. A Sensibo smart hub and one pod designed to control one room or a central air conditioner can be picked up for $79 and will be out in January 2015. Sensibo can be purchased in additional colors for $219, and developers who want to get more out of the device can get access to the API for $399.

The Potential. There isn’t a lot differentiating the Sensibo from devices like the tado°, but the Sensibo does seem to be marginally easier to uninstall and relocate as necessary. Like the tado°, the Sensibo will work with any remote-controlled air conditioner unit, and that’s a great sell for a device like this. If more of these fast-upgrade kits were available, the smart home revolution would certainly be taking off much more quickly.


Smart AC helps air conditioner venting; others may still need therapist.

SmartACHere’s good news for the sweltering, or at least those who will be some six months after this month’s blizzards end. Procubed has developed a better way to install a portable air conditioning unit, but has a ways to go in its video’s production values. The stop-motion shows how to install it, but it’s herky-jerky and is difficult to see. The company isn’t actually providing a portable AC unit, it’s  just designed a better way to install it to the window. For $20, you get a plan and a list of where you can get the materials, and for $50 you get the actual parts to assemble it. Delivery is expected April 2014.