Jun 13, 2012
It is probably everyone’s dream to have that ultra-modern, connected smart-house whose lights and appliances can all be monitored remotely and automatically. Bill Gates has one, so how hard can it be, right? Well unfortunately, this dream is simply that, a dream, for the rest of us. But now, thanks to Cameron Colpitts and his ingenious KickStarter project, we all can take just one small step closer to home nirvana. The project is called Elphi and offers a simple, and hopefully, inexpensive to automate any home. Elphi is a candybar-sized device that connects to any home wifi network and, after a quick sync with a smartphone, is completely controllable from anywhere that user has internet access, be it 3G or WiFi.
Elphi’s KickStarter page presents a few very logical uses for the device and while most of them can be done by other products, none offer the flexibility of Elphi. It also can track usage of the appliance plugged into the outlet which can be useful, but more importantly, Elphi can be used to monitor elderly loved ones or latchkey children. By remotely checking usage of that outlet wherever and whenever it is easy to determine weather there is activity in the house even at work. Another function that Elphi includes is the opportunity to put home electronics on a timer, say make the lights in the bedroom come on when it’s time to wake up, or turn the coffee pot on so it is ready for breakfast. Also, because it is able to be used anywhere, turning off electronics that were mistakenly left on is as simple as opening the app.
There is an option to share access to individual outlets with friends but I have a hard time seeing how this feature will be especially useful, but the option to do so if one was so inclined is nice. There has been no word on pricing, but one is included with a donation of $69 or more so look for them to be around that price point. With 16 days to go and somewhere around $79,000 left to raise, it is up to the internet to really bring this incredibly flexible and convenient product to the masses.