Smart Home

Eco Automation monitors your scene, keeps things green

At some point, the connected revolution lost its way and became a Tower of Babel of many incmopatible companies and standards. Zero Energy’s Eco Automation platform not only address the disparate world of these devices exist in, but takes advantage of the information being obtained to automatically monitor and conserve energy in addition to tailoring the connected home around the user’s lifestyle.

Its Eco Technology Bridge is the centerpiece of the platform, pairing nine radio protocols like Z-Wave, Zigbee, Wi-Fi and an array of others with a universal translation engine to make sure they all understand each other—and leaving room for another should another important spring up in the future. The Eco Automation’s Energy Meter connects directly to electricity panels and provides real-time consumption and production reports, going so far as to pick up differences in an HVAC’s power draw to determine when a filter needs to be a changed and offering up preventative maintenance reports for everything else.

Personal Transportation

Freedom trike gives makes you free to ride along with or without battery

To cut down the commute, or at least make it easier or more fun, people are always on the lookout for anything that will help. Segways-inspired hoverboards, foldable bikes, and motorized scooter have all vied for attention on multiple crowdfunding platforms but have yet to really make the sort of impact they want.

Add Freedom by TRIKKE to the mix, a foldable trike that can be used with or without its direct drive, brushless motor. Without the motor, TRIKKE claims Freedom to be an intense cardio and strength workout. With it, though, Freedom can reach a max speed of 11mph with a range of 11 miles.


Lightweight kit makes e-bike conversions quick and easy

Every day, more and more people choose to use bikes instead of cars to get around. This is an eco-friendly attitude anyone can get behind — unless, of course, where they’re going is too far. At that point, a little help is warranted. Unfortunately, most conventional e-bikes are bulky and expensive, and conversion kits add too much weight for a bicycle to still feel agile.

The add-e conversion kit is designed to alleviate the problems common to most conversion kits through its pared down, intelligent design. add-e consists of just two main parts adding about five pounds to the bike: a drive unit installed into the frame underneath the pedals, and a battery pack installed where the water bottle usually goes.


Scrobby Solar is the Roomba for your roof panels

The Premise. Solar panels are a fantastic way to cut down on carbon emissions while providing people and the energy they need to power themselves. Their hassle-free nature are an added bonus, usually requiring no more than initial installation and routine maintenance — unless, of course, they get dirty. With no clear estimates as to how much dust, dirt, and grime affects a solar panel’s capacity to generate energy, owners run the risk of giving up anywhere from 3% to 40% of possible energy, severely cutting down on returns.

The Product. Scrobby Solar is a Roomba-styled robot designed to live on and clean your solar panels created by Stefan Hamminga. Itself powered by solar energy, the Scrobby uses nothing but gravity and rainwater to clean your installation. Ron Popeil’s “set it and forget” has never been more true with this product being completely self-reliant, keeping you safe by relieving you of the dangers of cleaning panels yourself while lightening the burden on your wallet with its price.

The Pitch. The campaign’s video is straightforward and extremely informational, showing the creator building a Scrobby Solar from scratch. The simplicity of its design is shown to us piece by piece, allowing potential backers to see how effective design is truly created. Although the rest of the campaign is a bit wordy, it does so in a comprehensive way rather than in a obtrusive one — better for those who like to feel as comfortable as possible contributing towards a pricey €75,000 ($97,000) campaign goal.

The Perks. The Scrobby Solar can be had with a early bird pledge of €269 ($345), or €289 ($370) if you hit the snooze button too many times. Early bird packages featuring multiple Scrobby Solars are also available if you need to clean larger installations, ranging from €529 ($679) to €1049 ($1345). All packages are slated to be delivered by February 2015.

The Potential. The Scrobby Solar’s shape is familiar and welcome, the idea of a automated solar panel cleaning system that doesn’t cost a fortune will turn heads, and its self-sustaining design is sure to make headway in the space at that price point. Not mentioned in detail in the campaign are the exact requirements to successfully install the product being that there suspension wires involved in its operation. As long as it doesn’t turn out to be more trouble than it’s worth, the Scrobby Solar should have a real chance of surpassing its funding goal.


Reason ensures that energy savings come out in the wash

The Premise. The washing machine has seen subtle changes to bring them into the 21st century, but their designs have remained largely the same. One inventor has made the washing machine simpler, more energy efficient, and more compact.

The Product. The Reason washing machine has a slide-out drum, not unlike a trash compactor, and can handle loads of a single garment all the way up to a winter comforter and duvet. The Reason weighs the load of laundry and calculates the appropriate amount of water and detergent, and custom tailors each cycle to only use what is needed to clean garments. The entire device is operated with a single button, and can handle loads up to 12 kilograms.

The Pitch. Based on the feature set and innovation of the Reason, one can’t fault inventor Andrew Reason for being excited about his project. However, with the epic movie-trailer soundtrack and the metaphors to saving enough resources to fill Olympic pools and shut down power plants, the promotional video comes off a little strong. Reason includes a whole array of demo videos however, showing off every aspect of the machine. The Reason needs to raise £40,000 to complete the prototype stage and get the initial production out the door.

The Perks. The Reason washing machine will be sent out in December of this year for those that pledge support of at least £779, complete with detergent and conditioner. A year supply of the detergent and conditioner is available for £150, and those that want to change their laundry routine earlier can get in on the first batch for £4,000, receiving their washer in October.

The Potential. The Reason washing machine is an interesting design that’s a perfect fit in smaller apartments and economy housing because of its small space requirements and the ability to cut back on utility costs. The initial investment price may be a little high for those looking to cut costs, but Reason calculates that within an eight-year time frame, the washer will have paid for itself. While that may seem like a long time to wait to break even, the machine does thankfully come with a ten-year guarantee.