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littleBits Smart Home Kit is a home upgrade arsenal

littleBits Smart Home Kit is a home upgrade arsenal

The idea of a smart home might strike your fancy, but a quick look at the products available mightn't sway you. There seems little reason to ditch some of your existing hardware just for the privilege of controlling it with your smartphone, so you plod on another day subjecting yourself to manual light switches and dumb coffee makers. LittleBits wants to solve your problem, and it is doing so by putting up for pre-order its Smart Home Kit comprised of hardware pieces for a do-it-yourself connected home.

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Manything app update brings remote features

Manything app update brings remote features

With home security becoming easier to get hold of, one small issue remains. There are solutions — popular ones, too — but home security cameras are still fussy, and often require a heft investment. Manything doesn’t ask that you make any kind of big investment, though. In fact, Manything is a free app, with free cloud recording, and works with a device you may already have. Could it really replace the home security camera, though? For many, it just might, and might even be a better option.

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Roost battery makes your dumb smoke detector smarter

Roost battery makes your dumb smoke detector smarter

If you're looking to add a bit of smart functionality to your home but aren't interested in swapping out your existing devices, the folks behind Roost might have the solution. Roost is a 9v battery that connects your "dumb" smoke alarms to your WiFi network so that alerts are shuttled off to your smartphone, where you can see if they're going off and in which part of the house the detector is located. It also eliminates low-battery chirping that starts late at night, among other things.

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JBL Horizon Bluetooth Clock uses ambient light to wake you

JBL Horizon Bluetooth Clock uses ambient light to wake you

Thankfully the sudden screech of a traditional alarm clock is no longer necessary for waking up in the morning, with fade-in alarms on smartphones and various ambient light alarms becoming the consumer favorite. JBL is the latest among device makers to introduce its own ambient alarm clock flavor into the mix, and with it comes both Bluetooth and FM radio to complement the fade-in lighting. The JBL Horizon Bluetooth Clock is shaped like a thermostat and now available for pre-order.

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Video: SmartThings working with Gear S voice prompts

Video: SmartThings working with Gear S voice prompts

In an ideal connected home, you open the door, and the lights turn on. Maybe the TV also comes on, and flips right to the game. Your heater kicks in if it’s cold, and your phone silences itself. At least to some degree, that’s what we’re looking for with regard to home automation and the Internet of Things. At Samsung’s Developers Conference today, they displayed their concept for what the connected home would be via SmartThings, the platform they purchased not long ago.

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Quirky releases 7 new products, takes aim at Nest, security

Quirky releases 7 new products, takes aim at Nest, security

Quirky made a big splash in the connected home market today, announcing seven new products that could bring your smart home under one roof. In rolling out the new products, Quirky is aiming for the same market share occupied by others in the connected home realm. A sensor for your windows to tell you when they’re opened or closed, a box that “regulates” humidity and temperature, and connected outlets all have a place in their lineup. There’s even a thermostat from Quirky, now.

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XPUZMAG is the rubik’s cube of door locks

XPUZMAG is the rubik’s cube of door locks

The nature of home security is evolving, and door locks with it. We've seen all varieties of alternative ways to secure your home -- some that drop the "key" component entirely, others that promise better security by rising from the ground. A company is Taiwan has come up with its own design, and it is the Rubik's cube of door locks: the XPUZMAG looks like a shower drain and promises to be incredibly hard to pick, unlike traditional key locks commonly in use in homes and businesses.

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Lacelamps use 3D printing to paint your walls with shadows

Lacelamps use 3D printing to paint your walls with shadows

If your home decor is feeling a bit rote, a splash of 3D printing might bring it back to life. Lacelamps is one example of how a simple 3D printing project can be used to give one's home a creative flair. The lamps are 3D printed and feature a lacy white "cap" that, when the light is turned on, cast shadows on the wall forming intricate patterns. The lamps are the brainchild of Pierre-Yves Jaques and Linlin, both French designers.

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Selfie toys post baby’s photo automatically

Selfie toys post baby’s photo automatically

Without the express permission of your child, are you allowed to post photos of your children on Facebook? Of course you do. But designer Laura Cornet wants you to ask - and wants you to discuss - whether or not permission is something you should attain from everyone, even your infant. To do this, she's created a set of toys that activate automatic shares of photos, sounds, and movements of the child that touches them. Automatically, and without the parents' permission.

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