Skip to main content

Old phone collecting dust? Turn it into a smart thermostat with Bemo

bemo smartphone thermostat kickstarter android smart
If recent happenings in the crowdfunding scene are any indication, gizmos for repurposing your old smartphone might just be the next hot trend in tech. Earlier this week we came across a device from Palo Alto-based startup MindHelix that can turn an old/unused smartphone into a highly capable home monitoring/security device, and now, just a couple days later, yet another repurposing contraption has popped up on Kickstarter.

Designed by Arizona-based startup WiseLabs LLC, Bemo plugs into your old iPhone or Android device and transforms it into a fully-functional smart thermostat. By leveraging all the high-performance components the phone already contains –high-resolution touchscreen display, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, microphone, speakers, etc.– Bemo itself doesn’t have to do any of the heavy lifting.

Related Videos

The device itself is only about the size of a credit card, and works as a sort of bridge between your phone and the HVAC wiring in your wall. Once you’ve got it all rigged up, all that’s left is to download the Bemo app and fire it up. WiseLabs’ custom-built software can perform just about all the same functions you’d find in a purpose-built smart thermostat from Nest, Honeywell, and the like — remote control from your main smartphone, smart scheduling, habit learning, energy monitoring, and even proximity-based activation settings that can turn on the heat or AC before you get home.

RelatedLook out Nest: Honeywell’s new Lyric thermostat isn’t just smart, it’s brilliant

The beauty is that, because WiseLabs doesn’t have to build all kinds of sensors into its device, and instead relies on the ones already inside your old mobile phone, they’re able to sell Bemo at a drastically lower price point than other smart thermostat companies. Whereas the going rate for most smart thermostats currently seems to hover around $250, Bemo will retail for around $130.

To kick off its first production run, the company is hoping to raise $50K over the course of the next 39 days. If you back the project now while Bemo is still in the crowdfunding stage, you can lock one down for anywhere from $99 (early bird) to $130. If you spring for the $250 backer level, WiseLabs will even throw in a brand new Android smartphone for you to use. If the project winds up being successful, the company expects to ship the first production models to backers sometime around August 2015. Find out more here.

Editors' Recommendations

Turns out, sleep mode in smart fans isn’t just a gimmick
The PuriCare AeroTower acts as a conversation piece in a room.

I tried out the Dreo Smart Fan earlier this year. Among its many features is one called "sleep mode," which purportedly lowers the volume of the fan without impacting performance. I didn't think much of it; after all, how loud could a fan actually be? And then fall arrived.

For those of you who aren't familiar with weather in the Southern U.S., you can experience three seasons in a single day. It might start out as sweater weather in the morning, then be warm enough to swim in the afternoon -- only to plummet overnight. It's impossible for a thermostat to keep up.

Read more
Amazon’s Nest thermostat alternative is $42 for Prime Day
The Amazon Smart Thermostat installed on a wall.

You don't need to spend a bundle to get a smart thermostat, and that's even more true during Amazon's Prime Early Access Sale. In an ironic twist, there's an Amazon Smart Programmable Thermostat deal among the collection of Best Buy Prime Day deals. For the next few hours, you can get Amazon's Smart Programmable Thermostat for only $42, which works out to $18 off the normal price. Not only is this an affordable way to keep your home at an even temperature, but it can help save you even more money on your home energy costs.

Why you should buy the Amazon Smart Programmable Thermostat

Read more
Break out of a rut with these useful summer-focused smart home routines
The Amazon Smart Thermostat hanging on wall.

Glorious summertime. Those three to four months of the year when the beach is a constant destination, the kids are free to roam, and your residence becomes the key spot for all your friends and family to hang out. And what better way to amaze your familiars, and build security and efficiency into your life, than with a range of smart home automations?

Whether you're building routines with Alexa and Google Assistant or creating scenes with Apple HomeKit, these if-this-then-that commands are designed to group and simplify a set of smart home actions into one executable -- such as a voice prompt, time of day, or intuitive geofencing that automatically adjusts your thermostat when you leave for work.

Read more