The market for smart home hubs –that is, devices that give you simple unified control over all your connected gizmos– is quickly becoming crowded. The past year alone has seen dozens of new ones surface, but unfortunately, despite their convenient features, the overwhelming majority of them are gaudy plastic boxes with bright colors and blinking lights — not exactly the type of thing you’d want to hang on your wall.
Good news though: Somebody’s finally created a device that performs all the requisite smart functions you’d expect from a hub, and also doesn’t look like something that fell out of the trunk of a UFO. It’s called Sentri, and not only is it one of the most capable hubs we’ve ever seen (on paper, anyway), it’s also one of the best looking smart home devices ever to hit Kickstarter.
Aesthetically, it looks something like a blown-up 6th generation iPod nano — you know, the little tile-shaped one. It’s essentially a big square with rounded edges (better watch out for patent infringement!) and a LED screen up front that displays information. The box also comes in a range of different colors, and allows you to customize the icons and information that are displayed onscreen.
It’s definitely pretty snazzy on the outside, but Sentri’s beauty isn’t skin deep either. Based on what we can gather from its Kickstarter page, it looks like this thing has some serious muscle under the hood too.
In addition to WiFi radios that allow it to communicate with your mobile devices, Sentri’s got a microphone, speaker, motion detector, thermometer, air quality sensor, light sensor, humidity sensor, accelerometer, and even an HD camera with night vision. We’ve seen some all-in-one solutions like this before (Piper, Canary, Birdi, etc.), but as far as we can tell, Sentri has more sensors –and can therefore perform more functions– than any other hub we know of.
The addition of a security camera, for example, allows the device to function as a security system. The microphone and embedded speakers, on the other hand, mean you could potentially use Sentri as an intercom system to communicate with your family/housemates. And because it can link up with other connected home devices, such as lights, plugs, and door locks, all the environmental sensors can be used for advanced automation functions. Want your lights to turn on when it gets dark, not just run on a schedule? What about having the AC kick on when the room rises above a certain temperature? Assuming this thing works like it’s creators claim it will, that kind of stuff will all be possible
The project has already met it’s $200,000 funding goal, so if you back the project now, it’s a fairly safe bet that you’ll have one by this time next year. The company has already built a number of working prototypes, so now that they’ve gathered up the funds needed for large-scale production, they expect to ship Sentri to backers as early as May 2015.
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