After the Nest thermostat brought the smart home concept to the mainstream, tech giants are starting to take notice. Samsung recently bought up SmartThings, and Microsoft set its sights on almost a dozen smart home appliance makers. You can bet your buddies are going to have some of these gadgets in their cribs sooner or later. Don’t want to be left behind? Here are five smart home devices that make your home cooler, more convenient and, oh yeah, that much more impressive.
This stylish, gesture-controlled device aims to turn your regular home into a smart home, without the cost. Ninja Sphere monitors several aspects of your home, including temperature, lights and energy usage. It can also act as a hub for other smart devices and appliances, consolidating those that are connected to your network by wifi or by Bluetooth—in theory, you’ll be able to finetune your air conditioner, turn off a forgotten stove top burner, or find lost pets wearing locater tags all from Ninja Sphere’s single point of access.
Goji Smart Lock
Access to your home can be regulated with Goji, a sleek new smart lock that replaces an existing deadbolt. Using its companion app, digital “keys” sporting nigh-unhackable 256-bit encryption can be shared with those you trust with access to your pad. When guests arrive at your door, the Goji device recognizes their smartphones and lets them in—it can even be set to send you picture updates of who darkens your doorstep.
A useful upgrade for the budget conscious, Aros is a smart air conditioner that adapts to your presence and tastes—especially if the latter means you hate getting off the couch to turn down the temperature. The smartphone app it’s bundled with can learn when you are and aren’t home, even anticipating your return from work to cool your apartment down before you get back. It also integrates your monthly energy budget and weather reports to keep your bills down. Most unprecedented, however, is Aros’ design—we never thought we’d call an A/C unit “stylish” until now.
Costing an early estimate of around $40 a pop, these new light bulb adapters can save you money on energy while creating impressive lighting effects. Emberlight fits between a dimmable light bulb and an appliance, allowing users to control its appearance over wifi using a smartphone. While this sounds fairly basic, more advanced aspects of the app allow you to set your home’s lighting based on mood, time of day and even proximity—that is, lights can be set to turn on and off depending on whether you’re in the room.
A wrist-worn bracelet, the Reemo device removes your smartphone from the smart home equation and introduces gesture controls as a new way to interact with your network of things. The idea is simple: point at a Bluetooth device, then make an associated movement to use it. Currently, Reemo works with most devices that have only two settings, on or off, such as lamps and smart TVs. It also works with PC and Mac computers.