Homey, preheat the oven! This orb lets you control your house with your voice

Homey home automation

The home automation systems of tomorrow probably won’t look anything like they do right now. In the future, you wont have to whip out your smartphone and fire up an app to flip your lights on. Hell, you probably wont even need a smartphone. Instead, the automated home of the future will most likely look more like JARVIS from Iron Man. No more clunky remote controls or proximity-based Bluetooth tags on your keyring — in the not so distant future, you’ll be able to just wave your arms, point at whatever fixture you want to interact with, or simply speak your command out loud to make it happen.

We’re not quite at that point just yet, but thanks to devices like Homey, full voice-controlled home automation is just around the corner. The device, which is currently raising funds for production on Kickstarter, is essentially like Siri for all the electronic gizmos in your house — and not just the “smart” ones either. 

We’ve seen a couple of speech-based home control technologies in the past, but generally speaking, they can only communicate with a specific subset of smart devices. Enblink, for example, can only be used to control Z-Wave devices, and the recently-released Shortcut app can only interact with devices that support either bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Homey, on the other hand, is designed with a slew of different networking technologies under it’s hood, so it can control just about everything in your house.

In addition to major home automation protocols like Z-wave, Zigbee, bluetooth, and Wi-Fi; Homey also supports things like NFC, nrf24l01+, and infrared — so it can be used to control your regular TV, non-networked sound system, and even your computer. And of course, if you’ve got any smart gizmos in your pad (Nest thermostat, Hue lights, WeMo plugs, etc.) Homey can control those too.

The coolest part is that, much like Tony Stark’s virtual assistant JARVIS, Homey is designed to understand natural speech. You don’t have to phrase your commands in a certain order to get them them to work; you can just spout off whatever you want and so long as it pertains to home control, it should work. The device is equipped with an advanced natural language processor geared toward understanding a range of short commands related to home automation, so you can say things like “turn up the temperature,” “unlock the door,” or “turn on the lights,” and it’ll know what you mean.

At time of writing, the project is currently just a few thousand dollars shy of meeting its  funding goal on Kickstarter, and still has close to a month left in it’s campaign. If back the project now, you can lock down a Homey of your own for about $310. The team expects to ship the first units as early as March 2015, but until then you can find out more here.

Smart Home

Alexa’s Custom Interfaces hope to augment gadgets, games, and smart toys

Alexa is growing smarter again with a new feature for developers called Custom Interfaces. The feature is aimed at augmenting interactivity between users of Alexa-powered devices like Amazon's Echo and developer's newest products.
Smart Home

The best pet tech products for 2019

Pet-centric tech has come a long way in the past decade. From self-cleaning litter boxes to DNA tests designed to trace your pup's ancestry through the ages, here is some of the best pet tech available.
Smart Home

Amazon and Walmart match lower prices on Echo Dot and Google Home Mini

Amazon and Walmart resumed their price competition on the entry-level smart speakers for the Amazon Echo and Google Nest Home smart home ecosystems. The price cuts have started with 40% discounts on the Echo Dot and the Google Home Mini.
Smart Home

Your smart oven might be more ready for breakfast than you realize

Several owners of the June Smart Oven have reported the device turning on and preheating in the middle of the night without any input. June says this is due to user error, but customers are concerned.
Smart Home

Make heading off to college easier with Alexa

If you love Alexa at home, you're going to love her even more when you go off to college. She has skills that can help with dorm laundromats, tracking your team, keep track of campus events, and more.
Smart Home

Best smart plugs for inside your home

Smart plugs can make your dumb outlets smart. To help you choose the right one, we've rounded up the best smart plugs for your consideration. This selection covers smart plugs rated for indoor use.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Racing drones and robotic ping pong trainers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Smart Home

Best smart padlocks of 2019

It's time you upgrade your padlock! The best smart padlocks can be controlled with an app and include many useful abilities, like tracking when the lock has been used or adding new fingerprint users. Check out our picks.
Smart Home

Expect to see a lot more from Ikea in the smart home sector

Ikea is doubling down on its smart home efforts with the formation of a new business unit dedicated to the sector. The Swedish company said the move marks its biggest commitment to a single product line in more than 20 years.
Deals

Amazon drops Echo smart home device prices for Labor Day Sale

Amazon began dropping prices for Amazon Echo smart home devices for the upcoming Labor Day sales event. Alexa-compatible device price cuts by Amazon and Google Assistant device discounts at Walmart mean a big sale is on the way.
Smart Home

Walmart cuts prices for Google Home smart speakers and displays for Labor Day

Walmart dropped a round of serious price cuts on Google Home smart home devices for its Labor Day sales event. We've found the best discounts on Google Home smart speakers, a smart display, and two Google Home starter kits,
Deals

Suck up the savings with these vacuum cleaners on sale for $100 or less

Keeping your floors clean around the home is a constant chore. To help make things a whole lot easier, we've picked out some great vacuum cleaner deals available right now, from full-sized upright models to robot vacs.
News

Fridge Eye camera adds smart features to your fridge or cabinets at a low price

If you've ever wanted to see the inside of your refrigerator while at the grocery store, the Fridge Eye offers that functionality without the hefty price tag of actual smart refrigerators.
Smart Home

Here are 5 intelligent uses for smart plugs

Smart plugs can make even the dumbest appliance controllable through an app on your phone or through voice commands using Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple Homekit. Here are some ideas on how to incorporate smart plugs into your…