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  1. CES 2014: Exclusive Update - Black Sumac's 'Piper'

    Black Sumac was showing their new Piper all in one sensor including a video camera during the CES 2014 show held in Las Vegas, NV.  This device was created via an IndieGoGo campaign and will ship to these backers in a couple of weeks..
    This product features a 180 degree fisheye CMOS video camera, passive infra-red motion sensor, temperature, humidity, and ambient light sensors, accelerometer, microphone, speaker and a 105 dB siren.  All of this is included in a relatively small package that also has internal battery backup via three AAA batteries.
    All of these sensors can be seen on your Z-Wave network and can provide a nice marriage of security and home automation for your Z-Wave infrastructure.
    You can also access this device directly through your WiFi router and it provides an SSL structure for remote access with your mobile phone.
    The system records video continually and stores it in on-board memory.  Rules can be setup to trigger a 'snapshot' of this video.  The trigger can come from motion change to the video or by any one of the on-board sensors.
    Since this device is Z-Wave enabled, other Z-Wave sensors can be used for a variety of home automation or security rules (including snapshot of the video).
    They currently require their 'cloud' server for video uploading, but the rules are stored in the local device (not a bad system as the video will be in a remote location if this device were to get stolen during a burglary).
    Currently their API is not open to developers but this may change in the future once the product matures.
    The price is only $239 and that includes the wall mount plus AC adapter.


    • Jan 19 2014 04:22 PM
    • by BraveSirRobbin
  2. Ube KickStarter Campaign Update

    Only 15 days left before the Ube Wi-Fi Smart Dimmer KickStarter campaign comes to a close. There are over 1,000 backers, and the campaign is very close to reaching its goal ($215,642 pledged of the $280,000 goal).
    If you aren't familiar with the Ube smart dimmers, I highly recommend you check them out, and back this campaign if you have a remote interest in home automation.
    This product is the proverbial kick in the pants the home automation industry really needed.
    If you have any questions, don't hesitate to post them, Utz Baldwin is a member here, and is more than willing to answer any questions you may have.
    They are also giving away a free room pack.  You can enter this contest by liking them on Facebook.  See this post for more information.

    • Mar 20 2013 06:43 AM
    • by Dan (electron)
  3. KickStarter & IndieGoGo Project Updates

    HeatMeter (KickStarter)
    8 days to go
    It doesn't look like they are going to reach their goal.  The market is so small for this type of device, plus the 'cloud' requirement turned many enthusiasts away from this product.
    Prizm (KickStarter)


    27 days to go

    This is a rather interesting device.  It supports Z-Wave, and is supposedly completely open.  It has the potential to replace your bedside alarm clock.  The device was created by Frostdale, a company which isn't new to the home automation world.
    It looks like this product will rely on a subscription service as well, but since the hardware and software is 'open', one should be able to bypass this 'feature' (at least in theory).
    Waterall (KickStarter)
    19 days to go

    The Waterall is an IP enabled irrigation controller, which will rely on internet based servers for configuration and weather data.  Eventually it looks like they will offer a version which will not depend on an internet connection at all.  Should you lose your internet connection with the current version, it will at least still function, but configuration could be an issue.
    You do get control of many parameters, ensuring your garden will receive proper watering.
    Greenbox (KickStarter)
    6 days to go

    Another irrigation controller, which requires a subscription (free to KickStarter backers), but it looks like the 'Remote Access' version will offer Wi-Fi access to 'power users'.  The device also relies on Bluetooth Low Energy for configuration and future sensors.
    Almond+ (KickStarter)

    This project reached & exceeded its funding goal.  Don't forget to check out the CocoonTech Q&A Chat with Securifi, the company behind this product.
    CommBadge (IndieGoGo)

    7 days to go

    This is the CommBadge's 2nd attempt (first attempt didn't succeed), but it looks like they will reach the goal this time.  The CommBadge is a Bluetooth 'communicator', similar in shape/functionality to the communication you see pinned on the shirts of the staff in 'Star Trek The Next Generation'.
    Depending on range/battery performance, this might actually become an extremely useful tool if you plan on using voice recognition in your home.
    Tethercell (IndieGoGo)

    44 days to go

    The Tethercell converts a regular AAA battery to a 'Smart' AA battery, by Bluetooth enabling the battery.  This would allow you to control the device powered by these batteries using your Bluetooth-enabled device, and you can also use this battery to locate the device it is powering.
    Now you can automate devices such as Christmas lights, use an animated toy/bear as a wake-up device, and perhaps even control your battery-operated shades (assuming they aren't too power hungry, but at least the battery will let you know when it is running low).
    This device has a huge potential, assuming the range is acceptable, and it will be easy to interface with your favorite home automation software.  I would definitely watch this one!
    iSmartAlarm (IndieGoGo)

    22 days to go

    The iSmartAlarm is a portable home security system, and might be a great (and cheap) solution for temporary installations, or situations where you just want to be notified.  It requires an internet connection in order to push out notifications to your Apple product (supposedly an Android version is in the works now).
    I couldn't find any mention of certifications (i.e., UL), so personally, I'm not sure if I would count on this to protect my family, but there are definitely scenarios where a system like this might make sense.
    Ube WiFi Light Dimmer (KickStarter)

    24 days to go

    This has to got be the most exciting product in the home automation space for 2013.  If they can make this light switch work as advertised, it will revolutionize the home automation industry, which really can use the 'jolt'.
    We all have been waiting for the next 'X10', and while many have come, and gone, it looks like the Ube folks might have finally pulled it off.
    In case you can't tell, I'm extremely excited about this campaign!

    • Mar 11 2013 01:56 PM
    • by Dan (electron)
  4. RaZberry Now Available in the United States

    RaZberry turns the Raspberry Pi into an affordable smart home gateway:

    There are few electronic boards that have gained as much attention and excitement as the Raspberry Pi. The little 35 US$ microcomputer is a quite powerful computing engine with very capable graphics engine and other multimedia IOs. Initially intended as a toy for newcomers to get into the PC development world, the Raspberry Pi has hit seven digit sales figure in short time and has become more and more a commercial platform further lowering the entry barrier for new embedded computing solutions.
    The next step in this evolution is called RaZberry. This enhancement kit for the Raspberry Pi turns the microcomputer into a fully featured controller for Z-Wave wireless smart home networks. Z-Wave is the communications technology used by the world’s largest ecosystem of interoperable devices for smart homes. This ecosystem has more than 750 interoperable devices from numerous different vendors across the world these products are listed at products.z-wavealliance.org,.

    RaZberry is a pan-European project, the company behind it - Z-Wave.Me  is located in Geneva/Switzerland. The software was mainly developed in Moscow/Russia and the hardware is Made in Germany.

    The RaZberry solution comes in three parts. First, there is a little daughter board with the Z-Wave transceiver that plugs in the GPIO pin header of the Raspberry Pi board and not blocking the USB ports that may be used for other useful things like 3G uplink or WIFI sticks.

    Second, the daughter board holds the Sigma Designs Z-Wave transceiver with the licensed Z-Wave firmware managing the Z-Wave networking protocol. 

    The third and most interesting part is Z-Wave middle-ware called Z-Way and is provided by Z-Wave.Me. –Z-Way comes installed on the Raspberry Pis SD card.. i.  A single line of commands is all that is required to start Z-Way and start developing Z-Wave control applications.  Z-Way  implements all needed functions of a Z-Wave smart home gateway. It allows managing the network by including and excluding devices,  ontrols actuators, reads sensors and connects all the dots together using direct associations between Z-Wave devices and/or executing scripts.

    The idea behind Z-Way is to give people the chance to do their own gateway design and function. Hence, Z-Way comes with a simple to use JSON Web interface that can be used by HTML and JavaScript or Mobile phone apps. Several example Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) of varying complexity level are provided to teach people how to use this interface

    A complete Demo User Interface (UI) is included that provides complete control of a Z-Wave network. This demo is fully functional but not necessarily fashionable. The idea is to encourage people in the first step to beautify this interface but also to add more functions. No high-level software skills are needed for this except a basic knowledge of HTML and JavaScript.

    The key in smart home technology is the handling of the interrelationships of different devices with each other. Most systems provide for the manually prompted switching of devices and reading of sensors but for a truly smart home the application must add automation.  That is, it must automatically control actuators depending on time of the day, external circumstances such as weather and information acquired from other Z-Wave devices. This type of operation is defined by writing scripts.  Most smart home gateways either limit the choices available to define these scripts or require special programming skills for scripting. Z-Way offers to define for detailed scripting in JavaScript as well the same language that is used for the GUI. The commands in the GUI and the commands in the Scripting back end are similar significantly simplifying the use of scripts.

    Users can write their GUI in HTML and JavaScript and test most
    commands in their web browser before uploading the code to the Z-Way server for automated execution. This command line operation greatly simplifies product creation.

    The complete system, daughter card with Z-Wave transceiver, Z-Wave firmware and Z-Way middle-ware sells at a recommended price point of 49 EU resp. 59 US$. Commercial projects with larger volume can expect discounts. All you need to add is a Raspberry PI and your creativity. 
    The RaZberry is now available online e.g. at www.zwaveproducts.com. Further support and information including documentation, users forum and a news blog can be found at razberry.z-wave.me.


    • Mar 05 2013 12:01 PM
    • by BraveSirRobbin
  5. LIFX Reveals Final Bulb Design

    Check their blog for the update which contains more info, or watch the video below.

    • Feb 15 2013 09:09 AM
    • by Dan (electron)
  6. Finally a Wi-Fi enabled light switch for the DIY crowd (UPDATED)

    [attachment=4805:lgtexttest1.jpg] [attachment=4806:lightscene1.jpg]
    So here are some more interesting facts!

    • WiFi (Broadcomm chipset)
    • ARM 32Bit processor
    • Android OS (Ice Cream Sandwich)
    • Sub metering
    • Capacitive Multi-touch button ( allows for multiple functions based on gesture)
    • True M2M technology… no bridge, master, dongle or gateway required.
    Background on the team behind this company/product is pretty impressive as well (Utz Baldwin, the CEO/co-founder used to be CEO and chairman of CEDIA).
    If there is a demand, I will organize a live Q&A session with these guys.

    • Feb 08 2013 08:48 PM
    • by Dan (electron)