Know how clean the air is by turning on a Philips Hue smart lightbulb

In heavily congested cities, air quality can be a big concern. Because you can’t really see it, it’s hard to know whether you’re going to be breathing in the fresh outdoors or fresh exhaust. The World Health Organization warns that air pollution can affect the likelihood of heart disease, lung cancer, and strokes. Wouldn’t it be convenient if you already knew the air quality without having to research it?

In Louisville, Kentucky, the city has launched a channel on IFTTT that can alert a number of different smart gadgets about the city’s air quality. Whether it’s color-changing lightbulbs or a smartphone app, you can be alerted when it’s not safe to spend too much time outside. This marks the first city to launch a channel on the platform.

For those who are new to smart devices, IFTTT is a free internet service that allows you to build “If this, then that” statements. These work to connect different devices, social networks, and services. With the Smart Louisville channel, there are nine different ways to be alerted on air quality.

For example, Philips Hue lightbulbs can be instructed to change color based on air quality. If the lights are green, you’re safe. Yellow and orange begin to signify problems for sensitive people. Anything red or dark warns you of unhealthy to hazardous air conditions.

This move to a connected alert system with modern technology is one of many ways cities are working to become “smart cities.” In this example, Louisville has established partnerships between the local government and civic-minded hackers to connect citizens to the data the city collects.

Of course, not everyone can afford to outfit their home with smart devices or AI assistants. That’s part of the challenge Louisville faces when making sure this info gets to everyone. The Smart Louisville IFTTT channel makes the information much more accessible. IFTTT is already a free service, and some of the recipes don’t require a smart device to function.

“That’s how Louisville will become more connected to the average citizen,” said City Data Officer Michael Schnuerle in a statement to CNET.

As long as you can open a text message, read an email, or look at a lightbulb, every citizen of Louisville has the opportunity to know their city’s air quality before they step outside.

Emerging Tech

With cameras that know dogs from Dodges, Honda is making intersections safer

Honda and the city of Marysville, Ohio are working on creating a smart intersection. The goal would not only help better direct the flow of traffic, it could also help save the lives of pedestrians and cyclists.
Product Review

Philip Hue’s versatile outdoor light strip makes drab yards, holiday decor dazzle

Philips Hue fans can at last enjoy the brilliance of this weatherproof light strip, which offers simple, versatile positioning, a rich selection of 16 million color options, and bright, vibrant illumination.

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are now available for purchase

Google's latest flagships, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, are now official and we have all the details from the October 9 event in New York City and Paris. Here's everything we know about the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.
Home Theater

TV calibration 101: Here's how to tune up the picture on your new TV

You’ve got your new TV out of the box, but now what? Our TV picture adjustment guide takes you through the simple steps to get the best picture from your brand-new TV so you can set it and forget it.

Save energy and money with a $45 discount on the Nest smart thermostat

If you were looking for a smart thermostat, Amazon is offering up to $45 in savings on the popular Nest Learning Thermostat. Use stainless steel thermostat to the keep your home warm and cozy this fall and save energy by scheduling the…
Emerging Tech

Keep your holiday gift list high tech and under budget with these gadgets

Modern technology doesn't always come cheap, but there plenty of premium devices that don't carry a premium price. Whether you're looking for a streaming device or a means of capturing photos from above, our list of the best tech under $50…
Smart Home

Softly spoken interactions with Alexa now possible with new Whisper Mode

Amazon's Whisper Mode for Alexa has gone live, so now you can talk more softly to Alexa and it'll respond in kind. The feature will most likely come in handy around napping babies or for bed partners you don't want to wake.
Smart Home

Add some nature to your tech with Mui, a wood panel that’s also a smart display

Are you so immersed in technology that you long for a touch of nature in your home? You could get some potted plants -- or you could invest in Mui, a wood panel that is also an internet-connected smart display.
Smart Home

One in 10 smart home device owners report unresolved technical problems

According to a recent survey from Parks Associates, more than one in 10 consumers report they have experienced technical errors with their connected devices that have yet to be resolved.
Smart Home

New Nuimo Click gives one-touch control over smart home devices

Berlin-based technology company Senic has announced the Nuimo Click, a smart switch that harvests kinetic energy to power itself without the need for cables or batteries. The Nuimo Click will begin shipping in December.
Smart Home

SiriusXM, Amazon team up for two Echo Dot deals with freebies

Amazon and SiriusXM partnered on two joint promotions. New SiriusXM subscribers can receive a free Amazon Echo Dot. People who already own an Echo device can sign up for new SiriusXM subscription with the first three months free.
Emerging Tech

A Fitbit for your cat shit: Automatic litter box tracks your kitty’s health

It may look like a sci-fi teleportation chamber, but Footloose is a high-tech litter box that promises to be the most cutting-edge way for your kitty to take a dump. Here's how it works.
Smart Home

Angee’s security service switches from sales to subscriptions

Angee, a successful startup that raised nearly half a million dollars for its home security hub, has pivoted its business model to offer its home security platform as a subscription rather than a smart home product.
Emerging Tech

This 3D-printed house made of earth and rice husks costs less than an iPhone

Italian 3D-printing company WASP has just demonstrated the 3D printing of a hut structure using a combination of 3D-printed concrete and a mud-based material. All for around $1,000.