The problem with many new smart home devices is that you have to replace your existing gear for a shiny, new machine. Not everyone thinks you should have to chuck out your old coffee maker or hire an electrician to get your home online. Some companies such as littleBits and Clime sell kits or sensors so you can turn dumb devices smart, while a new Kickstarter for Habitat introduces a hub that transforms garage door openers, smoke alarms, and dryers into connected devices.
In addition to the hub, there are three pieces to the Habitat platform: Park, Protect, and Learn. The Park is a docking station for your garage door opener; simply stick the remote in the tray, and you’ll be able to open and close your garage door with your smartphone. Friends and neighbors can have access, even if you only want to grant it for a limited amount of time. The attachment senses if someone’s trying to force the door open or can alert you when your kids arrive home.
The Habitat Protect offers additional safety, working with the smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors already installed in your home. Once it’s magnetically installed near the detector, the Protect uses smart tone analysis to determine whether the beeping coming from the detector is an alarm or alert that it’s time to change the battery.
There’s also a more creative aspect to Habitat. The temperature, audio, motion, and light sensors that come with the Learn can be used in whatever way you best see fit. If the benefits of a smart coffee maker are lost on your tea-loving self, then maybe you set up your sensors to alert you when they dryer is done. Maybe the kids always go snooping for their presents this time of year? Rig the closet door to let you know when they’ve opened it up, then terrify your offspring with your seeming omniscience. The power!
The full system — the hub, Park, Protect, and Learn — is currently going for $189 on Kickstarter. By contrast, Garajeio, a device that smartens up your garage door opener, was going for $129 during its Kickstarter run. If you’d rather do things piecemeal, during the early bird special you can get the hub and the Protect for $89 or the hub and either the Learn or Park for $99. The Habitat team expects to have the devices ready to ship in June 2015.
For now, you’ll just have to convince the kids you’re an all-knowing, all-seeing being some other way.