Introducing the ‘Peanut’, the smart home hack which lets you easily and affordably create a smart home from scratch.
There’s little doubt that the Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas this year has been headlined by smart home home technologies. Smart home tech, which lets you make innate objects like thermometers, home security systems and other such household stablemates ‘smart’ have become the early tech trend of 2016 thus far. CES has long since been the technology industry’s barometer for what’s the come during the remainder of the year, and if that is to remain the case in ’16, then this is the year of the smart home. However, the majority of the population have taken the view that smart home tech is a ‘nice to have’, a cool feature but not something that warrants investing thousands of pounds/dollars/euros in. This is where Sense, the makers of the smart home platform ‘mother’ have stepped up. Their ‘Peanuts’ smart tech is intended to let smart home beginners start for, well, peanuts.
The Peanut smart sensor comes in six different colours and is essentially a programmable fob with a sensor, which you can use across a huge range of use cases in order to create smart home tech. Its intended to ingest flexibility in use cases where so far most home tech has been created with more specific use cases in mind. The six different peanuts have their own more specific uses, although each measures the same (roughly two inches in length), but each differ in having different smart functionality.
So essentially the Peanuts are a range of tags and chips which help identify problems. For example, the Med[ication] Peanut connects to a pill bottle and informs you if the pill has been taken. Whereas the Thermo Peanut measures ambient temperature, and can be used in rooms to measure the temperature and then enable you to remotely change it.
Unlike other smart home starter kits, you have no obligation to buy the whole package. The Peanuts are sold individually for $29 (roughly £17), and you can buy multiple of one type, such as thermos for different rooms, and not bother with others, such as med. I essence you therefore have the flexibility to build a smart home, or even utilise this technology into a business. For example a care home for the elderly may want to use a whole bunch of med peanuts to help measure the medication usage throughout the care home. This is therefore the most flexible smart home tech that we’ve sen so far. At least, it certainly is outside of the mega bucks ranges.
What we have seen at CES, is that we’re rapidly approaching the end of the era of ‘dumb’ home objects. Everything from doorbells to kettles are now been hooked up to the internet of things, turning them from innate objects to smart devices, and having them talk with one another and add much more value to our lives then the innate objects would individually.
The challenge however is the fact that we need to move from dumb objects to smart ones, and that takes time and costs money. For example, we all have a regular dumb kettle or doorbell, and how long will it take us to consider it a big enough capital expenditure verses return on investment positive outcome before we commit the cost to go smart?
Instead, we can buy a standard Peanut sensor, and repurpose it to almost any use case. What’s more, those of the right mindset can come up with their own ingenious use cases. A Personal trainer could come up with some smart tech which lets them monitor their clients water intake, by looking at how much water they’re drinking through a smart water bottle. Or a parent could hack their car keys to make them smart, thus monitoring their teenage child’s car usage.
So lets see what Peanuts we have to play with. As already mentioned, there are six.
Thermo Peanut: You set a temperature target, such as 20 degrees Celsius. Every 15 minutes the Peanut will read the room temperature, and alerts you if it falls out of range. There are so many use cases across gyms, hospitals, care homes, schools and households that its almost impossible to overstate the range of possibilities that this opens up.
Med Peanut: Monitors your pills and lets you know when you missed a designated dose. A simple monitor which could transform the care of the elderly and ill.
Safe Peanut: You stick the Peanut to any object, and get notified when it gets moved/tampered with etc.
Sleep Peanut: Drop it under your mattress to wake you up. It plays nicely with Nest thermostat to ensure optimal sleeping temperature.
Proximity Peanut: Sticks to important items which are easily lose, like keys, and buzzes to help you find them
You can pre-order the Peanut sensors via the Sense website, and can expect them to hit the shelves in Spring time. We’ll keep you posted.