Quirky and GE unveil new suite of affordable smart home devices, sensor 'micro-factory'
Smart home technology startup Quirky, in partnership with GE, on Tuesday introduced a new line of economical smart home products that works together with its Wink hub and app ecosystem to control everything from HVAC to garage doors.
In a quest to bring home automation to the masses, Quirky+GE unveiled seven competitively priced Web-connected devices, all of which were dreamed up by outside inventors and voted through to development by crowdsourced "influencers." The iOS-controlled Aros Smart Window air conditioner is another Quirky device born from this idea-to-manufacturing scheme.
Taking aim at advanced HVAC units like Google's Nest learning thermostat, the Norm is boldly advertised on Quirky's website as the "death of a thermostat." Controlled by the Wink app, Norm is a wall-mounted box that performs many of the same automation duties as the Nest Learning Thermostat, including scheduling, geofenced activation and usage tracking, but at a significant cost savings.
In conjunction with other sensors, Norm can intelligently adjust climate control settings based on temperature and humidity readings. Norm is priced at $80.
Next up is Tapt, a programmable wall switch capable of triggering device macros that can turn off lights, lock doors, lower window shades and more. Both standard and smart bulbs can be dimmed using the wall-mounted unit, while users can remotely control or schedule on/off times via the Wink app. Tapt goes for $60.
The $50 Outlink is billed as a smart wall outlet with built-in energy monitor. While Outlink sports two sockets, only the top is "smart," meaning it can be configured to cycle power on a schedule or accept remote control signals from the Wink hub. The smart outlet monitors electricity flow and triggers a mobile alert when usage surpasses a set monthly threshold.
Overflow is an Internet-connected sensor that monitors the surrounding area for standing water, informing users of a potential leaks or floods. Another sensor, named Tripper, alerts users when a door or windows opens or shuts. Overflow is priced at $35, while Tripper costs $40.
The most expensive product unveiled on Tuesday is a remote garage door adapter called Ascend. Installed between a user's garage door opener and its power outlet, Ascend acts as a smart gatekeeper, complete with app-based open/close controls and system monitoring. Users can also grant garage door access to family and friends.
Finally, the Spotter UNIQ is a modular platform that allows users to select from four of six swappable sensors: temperature, temperature and humidity, sound, light, passive infrared, accelerometer, or physical smart button. According to The Verge, Quirky+GE announced the creation of a micro-factory in San Francisco tasked with building UNIQ's sensor packages. Depending on configuration, Spotter UNIQ sells for between $30 to $120.
A majority of Quirky's new lineup ships in mid-to-late December, while the Ascend is planned for release in February 2015. Prospective buyers should note that a Wink HUB or Wink Relay command and control unit is required for operation.