Let just the right amount of light in with Halio smart-tinting glass

Smart homes, once a fantastical element of sci-fi stories, are quickly becoming the new normal, as ever more “smart” appliances hit the market. With the growing popularity of digital assistants like Alexa (a 2017 study by the Consumer Technology Association predicted that 44 percent of adults in the United States plan to buy a smart speaker in 2018) consumers automate many of the daily tasks that clog up home life, from big things like keeping your home secure to less pressing details, like combining the weather report with breakfast. Kinestral, maker of the Halio smart-tinting window, wants to do away with pesky blinds, offering a window that can darken to dim incoming sunlight.

The Halio “came out of the need to solve one of the oldest problems in buildings,” vice president of marketing Craig Henricksen told Digital Trends, “which is as soon as you put glass or a window in, suddenly there’s all this light coming in, which we love, we love the views, until that point where it’s too much; too much glare, you can’t do your work.”

Like the thermostat wars, the battle over whether to leave the shades open or closed can be a contentious topic in offices. Some people want to let the sunshine in, others hate the overbearing glare of the sun on their computer screen. Unfortunately, blinds and shutters are generally a binary solution. Halio offers a more nuanced approach, allowing users to adjust the exact amount of light that comes through the glass.

How does it work? Henricksen described the process. “There’s two special chemicals on a piece of glass, separated by a conductive layer. And when you apply a voltage, it moves ions from one side to the other, and depending on which side you push it to, it either blocks light, or lets it through.”

The Halio can connect to digital assistants like Alexa, and users can fine-tune the tinting with remarkable precision. There are two models: The Halio, which allows 70 percent of light through when in its clear state and blocks up to 97 percent of light when tinted, and the Halio Black, which can block up to 99.9 percent of light, perfect for those who hate to be awoken by morning light.

You’ll likely see Halio in your office before your bedroom. Henricksen said that the company is planning to launch Halio for commercial buildings around mid-2018, with residential sales closer to the end of the year. Although the price is not yet set, Henricksen estimated the price will be around four to five times that of a traditional window.

Product Review

Hue who? Nanoleaf Canvas brings a riot of color and vibrancy to the smart home

Fun and festive, Nanoleaf Canvas feature lighting adds personality and vibrancy to any room. Nanoleaf Canvas features squares that you can connect in any configuration you’d like. Sync to music, play games, or relax in soothing light.
Deals

Best deals for smart home plugs that control your lights and appliances

Smart hubs and speakers play central communication and management roles in your home, but smart plugs let you add lights and appliances to your system. Any smart plug you buy must support one feature or anything you plug in stays dumb.
Product Review

The Brava Oven takes all the thinking out of cooking

Using bulbs to cook food at different light frequencies, the Brava Oven lets even the clueless cook a tasty meal. But your own smart chef doesn’t come cheap.
Home Theater

Stranger Things season 3 predictions: Decoding the episode titles

Netflix has revealed the episode titles for season 3 of Stranger Things, and the eight titles could shed light on what we can expect to see when the hit show returns in summer 2019.
Smart Home

The best air fryers deliver fried food with a fraction of the calories

What is this magical mechanism? It's an air fryer, and when used correctly, it can mimic the effects of frying while using just a little bit of oil. You still get that crispy, golden exterior and the fluffy center.
Smart Home

These wireless security cameras are a wire-free way to protect your home

Home security cameras can give you piece of mind, but if they have wires, are limited in where you can put them. We've rounded up the best battery-operated home security cameras to give you flexibility along with your security.
Smart Home

This A.I.-enabled tech brings cutting-edge automation to grocery stores

Takeoff Technologies is working to make grocery deliveries fast, accurate, and convenient using A.I.-enabled technology to augment robotic grocery orders that can be completed in minutes.
Smart Home

With a simple command, Alexa can arm all your security devices

Alexa customers can query status plus arm or disarm home security systems several companies. New Alexa Guard skills set your home to away mode, send alerts when alarms or sensors go off, and contact home security monitoring services.
Smart Home

Voice assistant-enabled Deebot N79S robot vacuum now deeply discounted

The Ecovacs Deebot N79 is more powerful and quieter than its predecessor and adds Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility. Ready to make cleaning easier than ever, this voice-enabled bot will vacuum your home on spoken command.
Smart Home

Facebook Portal and Portal+ video-calling devices gain new content and features

Facebook's Portal devices are video smart speakers with Alexa voice assistants built in that allow you to make calls. The 15-inch Portal+ model features a pivoting camera that follows you around the room as you speak.
Smart Home

Dog or cat shedding? These vacuums do a great job of sucking up pet hair

Got a pet hair problem? Fortunately, there's help for you and your furry friend. We tested out a bunch of vacuums that promise to remove pet hair. Here are a few of the best you can buy.
Smart Home

Rocco wants to rock out. Parrot learns to use owner’s Amazon Alexa

Rocco, an African gray parrot, fell in love with his owner's Alexa unit and ordered himself treats and other goodies, but mostly uses the smart assistant to rock out to his favorite music.
Smart Home

Find good gift ideas with these small kitchen appliance deals on Amazon

Small kitchen appliances are favorite holiday gifts to give and to receive and that doesn't only mean an Instant Pot. We found excellent deals on Amazon for blenders and espresso makers plus a highly rated sous vide machine.
Smart Home

The Echo Wall Clock can help you keep track of multiple Alexa timers

Amazon just released the Echo Wall Clock that was announced at its September new hardware device event in Seattle. The Echo Wall Clock is an analog clock that also indicates the minutes remaining on one or more Alexa timers.