Home Networking, Home Automation

Laundroid Returns at CES 2018

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Laundroid Returns at CES 2018

Remember the Laundroid, the robot promising to make the folding of laundry a thing of the past seen back at CES 2016? Seven Dreamers returns to this year's CES with an updated prototype and a launch date.

The Laundroid continues to bear an ominous resemblance to HAL 9000, the malevolent AI from 2001: A Space Odyssey, even if Tokyo-based Seven Dreamers insists its purpose remains to simply fold the laundry. One will be able to dump clean and dry clothes in the cabinet-style machine, and before too long (or around 4 hours, depending on the size of the load) it will all be folded automatically.

The latest prototype has the capacity of 30-40 pieces of clothing (depending on size), and takes around 5 minutes to fold one item. More complex clothing, such as dress shirts, may require more time. Operation promises to be quiet at around 35db, and it even has two sorting modes-- either by category (towels, shirts, etc) or person/family member, since the Laundroid can register a piece of clothing with a particular user.

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The Siri-Enabled Digital Shower

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The Siri-Enabled Digital Shower

Not even the shower is a space where customers are free from virtual assistants-- the U by Moen smart shower features Siri and Alexa control to provide a desired water temperature or settings through voice control.

As seen at CES 2018, the U by Moen system consists of a digital valve able to control water temperature by the digit. The valve can be applied to fixtures such as shower heads, hand showers and body sprays, and can is controllable via in-shower control pad as well as companion U by Moen app.

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Wink Pairs With Sonos

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Wink Pairs With Sonos

Wink adds a wireless audio maker in its lineup of partner companies-- Sonos, specifically through the compatibility of Wink Hub 2 with all Sonos products.

As Wink puts it, the Hub 2 is a control panel for all connected devices. Customers simply need to connect the Sonos products to the same wifi network as the Hub 2, before pairing through the Wink app. Customer get a number of controls, such as auto-playing tracks or playlists when someone enters the house, or adding music a Wink Shortcut allowing one to dim the lights, adjust temperature and play specific music through a single tap.

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Honeywell Lyric Compatible With HomeKit

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Honeywell Lyric Compatible With HomeKit

Honeywell announces the Lyric Controller home security system is certified for use with Apple HomeKit-- allowing customers to control the system via iDevice and either the Home app or Siri.

"Smart home technology has made consumers more reliant on their mobile devices to manage their homes," the company says. "The addition of HomeKit support to the Lyric Controller improves the connected home experience for consumers, and provides new opportunities for dealers. Dealers can leverage the Apple ecosystem of HomeKit partners to expand their connected home offerings and deliver a robust interface to manage the home."

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HDMI 2.1 Specification Gets Release

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HDMI 2.1 Specification Gets Release

The HDMI Forum announces version 2.1 of the HDMI specification-- an update promising support for a range of higher video resolutions and refresh rates, including 8K60 and 4K120.

Version 2.1 handles resolutions up to 10K, together with dynamic HDR formats. Bandwidth capability is increased to 48Gbps through a Ultra High Speed HDMI Cable able to handle uncompressed 8K video with HDR with exceptionally low EMI (electro-magnetic interference) and backwards compatibility with existing HDMI devices.

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Lifx Z Light Strip Gets HomeKit

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Lifx Z Light Strip Gets HomeKit

Smart lighting maker Lifx announced an upgraded version of the Lifx Z light strip kit-- one complete with native HomeKit support, with no need for a bridge device to add connectivity.

Lifx lighting strips do not need a hub device, since they connect directly to wifi. They also support Alexa and Google Assistant, are dimmable and support up to 16 million colours. Customers can divide the strips into 8 separate controllable zones for additional configurability, as well as pair them with other Lifx lighting systems such as the Tile panel or Beam rails.

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KRACK Attack Affects Wifi!

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KRACK Attack Affects Wifi!

Researchers warn of a serious flaw in the WPA2 protocol securing all wifi networks-- one allowing attackers to steal passwords, emails and other supposedly encrypted data!

Dubbed Key Reinstallation Attacks (or KRACKs), such attacks even allow those with malicious intent to inject ransomware and malware into a website a user is visiting, all while simply being in range of a vulnerable device. These can be any wifi-capable device, although the flaw is "particularly devastating" in the case of Linux and Android 6.0.

How does KRACK works? As the researchers put it, attackers can duplicate a vulnerable WPA2 network, impersonate the MAC address and change the wifi channel. The fake network acts as a "man in the middle," forcing devices to connect to the rogue network instead of the protected original.

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The Alexa-Controlled Smart Mattress

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The Alexa-Controlled Smart Mattress

Sleep technology company Eight adds further capabilities to its smart mattresses with an Alexa skill allowing one to control such products through Amazon-enabled devices and voice commands.

The "smart sleeping" products currently compatible with Alexa are the Smart Mattress collection and the Smart Mattress Cover. Users can state commands such as "Alexa, warm up the left side of the bed" or "Alexa the bed is too cold" to warm up the bed. In addition one can ask ask "Alexa, how did I sleep last night?" or "Alexa, what's my sleep score" to receive statistics related to their sleeping patterns.

Eight plans to add further Alexa commands later this year for more robust interactions between its products and the virtual assistants. Eight products already feature automation capabilities through If This Then That (IFTTT), but Alexa allows for perhaps simpler integration, not to mention control.

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HomeKit-Enabled Elgato Offerings at IFA 2017

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HomeKit-Enabled Elgato Offerings at IFA 2017

Elgato expands the HomeKit-enabled Eve product family with five accessories at IFA 2017-- the Eve Lock, Eve Window Guard, Eve Smoke, Eve Smoke and the second generation Eve Thermo.

The new generation Eve Thermo smart radiator valve features capacitive touch controls and an integrated temperature display, allowing customers to directly monitor and adjust target temperature. It works right out of the box, with no need for extra bridge device or starter pack, and retains all the Eurotronic control technology found in the previous version.

Meanwhile the Eve Lock automatically secures latches and bolts once the door is locked, ensuring the door is safe at all times. Control comes through either Siri, Home app or Eve companion app, and HomeKit allows remote control in case of visitors. As an smart smoke detector, the Eve Smoke not only sets off a loud, pulsating tone in case of fire, but also sends HomeKit notifications and sets off scenes.

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Fibaro Updates Entry Sensor

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Fibaro Updates Entry Sensor

Fibaro starts shipping the Door/Window Sensor 2-- a Z-Wave Plus-certified smart home device customers can install on any door, window, gate or set of blinds in the home or office.

The Door/Window Sensor 2 connects to either the Fibaro Home Center ecosystem or a Z-Wave hub, and is accessible through companion app on smartphones, tablets or browser. It monitors the status of the door, window, gate or blinds it is connected to, and reports back any change in open/door status, helping avoid theft, break-ins or energy loss if a door is left unintentionally open.

The update also features an internal temperature sensor, allowing it to report abnormal changes in temperature. It also pushes temperature data to the Fibaro energy management dashboard found in the Fibaro desktop app, allowing users to monitor temperature changes, maximise efficiency and reduce energy bills. In addition, a tamper sensor boosts security by alerting the user if someone tries to remove it.

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The HomeKit-Compatible MyQ Home Bridge

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The HomeKit-Compatible MyQ Home Bridge

Chamberlain launches the MyQ Home Bridge-- a means to add HomeKit compatibility to any MyQ garage door opener (without built-in wifi) and lighting products.

Announced back at CES 2017, the MyQ Home Bridge allows customers to control garage doors with Siri, set scenes within the Home app and connect a MyQ garage door opener with other HomeKit-enabled devices. Thus, one can have a smart thermostat or light bulb adjust accordingly whenever the garage door opens or close.

The company also offers a series of MyQ lighting accessories users can connect to HomeKit for control via iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Apple Watch.

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