Zilker is a smart irrigation system you hook up to your hose

April showers bring May flowers, but you still may need to do some watering of your own. While this can turn into a water-wasting endeavor, it doesn’t have to. Zilker has launched a crowdfunding campaign for a smart irrigation device that allows users to control their water use without an in-ground sprinkler system.

Zilker uses a indoor “bridge” which communicates via 915 MHz with up to eight valves outdoors. The valves attach to exterior water faucets, and garden hoses are then connected to them. Together, the valve and the bridge monitor and control how much water is delivered to your lawn or plants. The device is able to make adjustments based on local weather data — hot weather of course means more watering, while Zilker will scale back if it has rained recently.  Users can also employ Zilker to see whether the faucet has been left running, if a hose is leaking, or if the batteries are low.

From a water-saving perspective, Zilker’s integrated flow meter is especially effective; it measures consumption in gallons or inches rather than in minutes as many common sprinklers do. Users can then track their usage history online, thereby gaining a better understanding of their water bill.

Zilker cites EPA data indicating that nearly one-third of a home’s water is used outdoors, and that half of that amount is used inefficiently by watering systems. The company aims to minimize that wasted water, and estimates that Zilker can potentially save 800 billion gallons of water a year, not to mention its related ability to reduce water costs.

With the launch of the Kickstarter, consumers can buy the Zilker starter kit, which includes both a bridge and a valve, at a discounted rate. Additional valves can also be purchased, with prices varying depending on when pledges are made. The company expects to begin shipping Zilker systems in spring 2017.

Smart Home

Philips Hue users can activate their favorite routines through Google Home

Philips Hue expanded its Google Home integration through the Gentle Sleep and Wake routine. Just give Google the proper instructions are your lights will brighten or dim over half an hour.
Gaming

10 Nintendo Switch tips and tricks to get the most out of your hybrid console

Have a new Nintendo Switch? Awesome! It's a great console from the moment you turn it on, but owners can make it even better by using a few simple tips and tricks. Here's what every Switch owner should know.
Home Theater

Banish the bunny ears (and monthly bills) with these excellent HD antennas

When transitioning away from cable and satellite, finding the best HDTV antenna for your area can be tricky. To aid in your cord-cutting quest, we've compiled our picks of the best indoor HDTV antennas you can buy.
Trash

Our favorite smart thermostats let you stay warm without burning money

The right thermostat can do more than just adjust the temperature of your home, it can also learn about you and help you save money. Check out our picks for the best smart thermostats on the market right now.
Trash

Looking to get into shape? Snag one of these fitness trackers

Looking for your first fitness tracker, or an upgrade to the one you're already wearing? There are plenty of the wrist-worn gadgets available. Here are our picks for the best fitness trackers available right now.
Smart Home

There will be 200 million smart speakers by year’s end, analysts say

A new report by the research and analysis firm Canalys predicts that more than 200 million smart speakers will be engaged by users by the end of 2019, which is a growth of over 82% from last year.
Product Review

4K in home security is finally here, thanks to Arlo’s Ultra UHD smart cam

The 4K home security camera is finally here! Class-leading image clarity and a super-wide field of vision makes Arlo Ultra an early contender for the year’s best smart cam. While there are definite quirks to the device, the device…
Smart Home

Oh, Zuck, no! Facebook rumored to be creating a voice assistant to rival Alexa

Facebook hasn't been a big player in the smart speaker market, but that may be changing: The social media giant is reportedly working on a digital assistant to compete against Alexa and others.
Smart Home

SMEG debuts colorful dual-fuel Portofino 48-inch ranges for no-compromise cooks

When SMEG launches new kitchen appliances, you can count on retro-classic design, gorgeous high-end finishes, envy-inducing functional wizardry, and lofty prices. This week SMEG launched its Portofino Dual-Fuel 48-inch Pro-Style Range.
Deals

Walmart offers big price cuts on air fryers from La Gourmet and Farberware

Walmart made deep price cuts on air fryers from La Gourmet, Farberware, and others. Air frying is faster, healthier, and easier to clean than traditional deep frying. You also can use most air fryers for baking, roasting, and grilling.
Deals

Amazon drops a killer Instant Pot deal, with prices under $60

Instant Pots are the popular kitchen device known for making cooking easier and faster. Thinking of finally getting yourself one? Amazon dropped the price of the Instant Pot Duo Mini. Prepare delicious meals this Easter Sunday with this…
Smart Home

I have seen the future, and it’s full of salad-making robots

Think that robots bussing tables, tossing salads and baking bread is a futuristic concept? It's actually not as far away as you might think. Robots took center stage at a food robotics summit in San Francisco this week, where they showed…
Smart Home

Ecobee leverages humor in a heated discussion with climate change skeptics

Ecobee cranked up the heat on climate change doubters. In observance of Earth Day, Ecobee and ad agency DCX released video of a social experiment that tested the effectiveness of humor in easing tension during discussions with skeptics.
Smart Home

Miele stuns with wireless probe, self-descaling java pot, and other new products

Miele rocked KBIS 2019 with waves of new appliances and features. The annual Kitchen and Bathroom Industry Show is all about product launches and Miele's appliance reveal was like New York Fashion Week with a single designer.