What is it? A smart coaster?Nothing of the sort; this is Tado Cooling, and it's the latest Internet of Things gadget that's aiming to make your home all connected and smart, like some sort of future space pod.
So what does it do for its party piece? Tado Cooling lets you control your air conditioning unit with your smartphone. Any AC unit, as long as it has a remote control – the Tado Cooling wall plate takes over its functions, which has the added benefit of removing one more room-cluttering remote from your life.
How does it work? Once you've mounted your Tado Cooling device on the wall, you need to train it to recognise your AC's remote control. Once that's done, you just connect your smartphone to it using Bluetooth or WiFi, and set the temperature using the Tado Cooling app – you can also use the capacitive surface to control it, if you don't have your phone to hand.
Is that it – it turns your phone into a glorified remote?It does much more than that. Tado Cooling tracks your phone, switching the AC off when you leave your house, and switching it back on as you approach – so you're not wasting electricity keeping an empty house cool. An onboard humidity sensor lets it track and control the humidity level when you're out, too.
And if you're an Apple user, it can use iBeacon technology to track when you're in the room – useful if you have multiple AC units controlled by multiple Tado Cooling devices. Naturally, it also plays nice with Apple's HomeKit, the Internet of Things communications suite included in iOS 8.
How much does it cost? Tado Cooling's passed its Kickstarter goal, so you'll be able to get your hands on one soon. You can currently pick up a unit for a special early bird price of US$100 – US$50 less than the retail price, or for US$180 there's a limited colour edition that lets you pick the colour of the back plate, cable and LED display.
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