Smart Home

Switch Bot pushes all the right buttons to control your switches

While running around from place to place each day, it’s common to forget to shut the lights or other electronic devices off at home. It would also be nice to shut those same devices off while one is just too tired to get out of bed.

Switch Bot is a small robotic device that attaches to other devices throughout the home or office and can wirelessly control all their switches and buttons. Control can be done while at the location or remotely using a smartphone or smartwatch.


Cell Phone Accessories Networking

Lack of coverage can’t stop the goTenna Mesh

The problem of communication in a foreign country or during an emergency is a huge one, compounded by the usually prohibitive costs associated with it. And even then, when a system is finally in place, it usually isn’t as reliable as it needs to be.

So, after receiving countless awards for its inaugural product offering focused on the problem, the team behind the wildly successful goTenna is back at it again. This time, its goTenna Mesh not only connects people using a signal it generated on its own but also takes advantage of each users’ device to double or even triple its capable range. This allows users to send direct messages, establish message groups unencumbered by distance and download maps to be used offline, with the network growing stronger as more people use goTenna Mesh devices.

Connected Objects Networking

Eero can be your hero in overcoming wireless dead zones

A frequent annoyance for Wi-Fi users is when a dead zone prevents them from accessing the Internet in certain locations of their homes. Another annoyance is having to reset a router when it mysteriously stops working.

Eero has been designed to blanket a user’s entire home with fast, reliable Wi-Fi in order to eliminate dead zones and all the other frequent wireless issues that Internet users typically experience. The device looks like a basic router and plugs into an existing cable or DSL modem. Users then just download an Android or iOS app and it will instantly recognize Eero and prompt users to create their own network name and password. Additional Eeros need power from a standard wall outlet and get placed around the home with the help of the app.

A typical apartment will need two Eeros, while an average house will need three and a larger house will require four to work at maximum effectiveness. The Eeros work together to form a mesh network. Unlike traditional routers and extenders that only allow for data to make a single hop, Eero allows for multiple hops with minimal signal loss. Consumers can connect up to 10 Eeros. One unit will cost $199 and its maker will bundle three at the discounted price of $499 when it ships this summer.

Eero holds a lot of promise, as long as it works as effectively as its maker claims. The Splitter is a rival device that attempts to resolve wireless dead zones, but Eero is a far more advanced system.


Heat Seek turns up the the heat up on lazy landlords

The Premise. Although New York City winters can’t compare to those further up the eastern seaboard, they still pack quite a punch. For those with poorly heated apartments, they can be downright brutal. Although avenues exist with which to report heating violations, they are often too unreliable to truly make a difference — literally leaving people out in the cold.

The Product. The team behind Heat Seek is proposing a tech-centric solution to reduce the inefficiency. The initiative uses a set of connected devices relaying temperature information back to a central hub in an Internet-connected apartment. (Only one hub is needed, reducing the barrier of entry for those without a connection.) All this information is then sent to a server where it can be accessed by tenants, advocates, and lawyers using a Web app.

The company hopes this information will allow timely resolutions to violations. Tenants coming home to a toasty apartment are not the only beneficiaries, though: Heatseek NYC wants to partner with responsible landlords to help them stay compliant by figuring out how best to avoid heat loss, maximize heating efficiency, and potentially save thousands. (How many responsible landlords there are in NYC remains to be seen.)

The Pitch. Their Kickstarter campaign has a lot going for it. Its simple and clear video tells the real story of a current NYC resident living in an improperly heated apartment. By telling her story and showing how the company’s sensors would help, the video presents a compelling issue and a solid call-to-action. Although the team is looking for $10,000 to begin manufacturing, it is ideally seeking $50,000 by campaign’s end to put 1,000 sensors in the hands of New Yorkers who need it most.

The Perks. You can gift a temperature hub for a New Yorker in need for $30, or pay $60 to do the same and receive one yourself. Conversely, you can gift a hub while receiving one yourself with a backing of $120 or more.  No matter what option you choose, every perk has an estimated delivery date of February 2015.

The Potential. Any serious attempt to revamp bureaucracy can be messy (here’s looking at you,, but Heat Seek NYC’s solution to a persistent problem is simple, elegant, and easily applicable to a wide range of situations. Heat Seek has attracted a lot of attention via a back of a string of wins in app competitions However, it faces a long journey in the real world if it seeks to become a standard in New York or beyond.