Whether you are looking for some unique presents for the holidays or ready to experiment with the latest tech, these smart home devices are a great solution – and include applications you would have never expected. These days everything is getting a tech upgrade, including your garage, water bottle, fork, and doorbell.
12 Secretly Great Smart Home Devices
Check out the latest, greatest smart gadgets below.
1. MyQ Smart Garage: The MyQ Garage, produced by Chamberlain, is a unique smart device that connects with your current garage door opener and turns it into an app-controlled machine. The app will not only allow you to control the garage door from your phone, anywhere, but can also give you warnings and updates about your garage door status.
2. Skybell Smart Door Bell: The Skybell is a highly advanced door bell. Actually, door bell doesn’t really do it justice. This device is a bell, a camera, and motion sensor, and a two-way radio all rolled up into one disk-like device and tied into your smartphone. Know when someone is coming, see who is knocking at your door, and hold a conversation with them, all through your smartphone. Night vision and silent modes are both included.
3. Smart Locks: Smart locks help you manage your entryways remotely – the perfect solution for making sure your door is always locked when you want it to be, while also making exceptions for people remotely. It can also save some time otherwise spent fumbling around for keys. One of the latest models is the August Smart Lock, which creates a link with your smartphone when you approach the door and unlocks for you automatically.
4. Smart Window AC with Aros: If you don’t have a full climate control system but depend primarily on a window AC unit to keep a room cool, consider the Aros smart AC from Quirky. Much like smart thermostats, this device can learn from your location, schedule and use to pick a proper temperature. You can control it with a smartphone and set any schedules that you want, as well as offering advice on how to save money by changing your habits in specific ways.
5. Vessyl and SCiO: Vessyl and SCio are both smart home devices that specialize in sensing – in showing you what something is. In the case of Vessyl, the smart device is a cup that analyzes the liquid inside and sends basic information about it to your phone (primarily for nutrition and calorie reasons). The SCio, meanwhile, is a mobile molecular sensor for food, plants – and pretty much anything else.
6. Philips Color-Changing Hue Bulbs: Smart light bulbs are officially here, with multiple offerings from many brands making bulbs that you can control with a flick of your phone. However, Philips still has the most interesting entry in this field with its Hue LED bulbs, which can change all your lamp lights to different colors – perfect for parties, dorms, mood-setting or highlighting particular décor.
7. iGrill2 for Cooking Projects: The iGrill2 has one task in mind: To make your cooking projects smarter, especially when you get out the grill. This device uses Bluetooth technology to send messages right to your phone about temperature levels and when food needs to be flipped or transferred to a plate ASAP. You can create all kinds of schedules to match what you are cooking.
8. HAPIfork: The HAPIfork is, indeed, a smart fork – which immediately raises all kinds of questions. Let’s clarify: Use the fork with your meal, and it will attempt to track how long it took you to eat, how many servings you ate per minute, and how long between bites you took. Use this information to help control your eating habits and, ideally, lose weight by eating more slowly.
9. The Hug: A Water Bottle Sensor: The Hug gets its name from the fact that you wrap it around your water bottle. It tracks how much you drink (as long as you drink from that bottle, of course) and then provides information on your hydration levels. Go too long without drinking from that bottle, and the app will warn you that you are on the road to dehydration. It also tracks your exercise and long-term water consumption to get an idea of how much daily water you need.
10. Beddit’s Sleep Sensor: Yes, there are smart home devices that measure how you sleep. The Beddit sleep monitor tracks your sleep habits with a sensor that you sleep on. Get up in the morning and check out how restless you were and how many hours of sleep you really got, along with your heart rate and your respiration levels. This is handy for dealing with all kinds of sleep problems.
11. Nest Thermostat and Ambi Climate: The Nest thermostat may well be the most popular item on this list, with its recent acquisition by Google and wide availability. This smart thermostat adds learning capabilities onto its remote-control features, allowing it to essentially program itself according to your work and sleep habits. Another entrant in this field is the Ambi Climate, an interesting standalone device (from an immensely successful Kickstarter campaign) that allows you complete control of your AC and also includes predictive climate control.
12. Smart Plugs: Smart plugs have a simple but amazing job: They turn ordinary outlets into smart outlets that allow you to control plugged-in devices with your phone. Plug in an ordinary lamp, and suddenly you can turn it off or on through Wi-Fi and set schedule for when you want the lights to come on. There are a number of different entrants in this field. Simple options like the Zuli smart plug just go into your existing outlets. More complex versions, like Belkin’s WeMo light switch, replace the outlet panel altogether.
Photo Credit: Maurizio Pesce