Home Automation

The robot war has started! iRobot’s robo-vac patent war, that is

The robot war has started! iRobot’s robo-vac patent war, that is

It's robot wars, but not quite like the Terminator movies warned it would be. iRobot has launched a salvo of litigation against a whole host of rivals, alleging that collectively they infringe on a total of six patents the company holds around robotic vacuum cleaner technology. While warring robo-vacs might sound comical, the stakes are high.

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Logitech Pop HomeKit bundle gives Apple’s Home a smart button

Logitech Pop HomeKit bundle gives Apple’s Home a smart button

Logitech's Pop is getting an Apple HomeKit upgrade, allowing the programable wireless buttons to act as light-switches, scene-triggers, and more for iOS fans. Launched in August last year, Pop offers a triple-function button that can be customized to control hundreds of devices in your smart home. Now, there's a second version for those who went the HomeKit route.

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“Invoke” could be Harman Kardon’s Cortana-powered speaker

“Invoke” could be Harman Kardon’s Cortana-powered speaker

The personal assistant war has long moved from smartphones to smart homes the day Amazon launched its Echo speaker and introduced Alexa to the world. Pretty soon, Google followed with its Home (not Gnome) and Google Assistant and soon, Microsoft will do likewise with Cortana. That device has already been teased before to bear Harman Kardon's brand but very little else. Now some more details are falling into place courtesy of leaks, including a rather unusual but still totally generic name: Invoke.

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This Alexa update makes Echo your smart bulb’s best friend

This Alexa update makes Echo your smart bulb’s best friend

Amazon has dramatically improved how Alexa, its smart assistant found, works with connected bulbs, allowing users to control color and white light temperature by voice. The tunable lighting control update, announced today, allows developers to integrate color and temperature control with simple voice commands, and is compatible with some of the most popular connected bulbs on the market. It's a feature which has been much-requested by smart home fans.

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August Home joins Z-Wave Alliance for Smart Lock Pro

August Home joins Z-Wave Alliance for Smart Lock Pro

August Home announced today that it has joined the Z-Wave Alliance, which only means one thing: Z-Wave home automation accessories are on the way. The first of these accessories will be a Z-Wave version of its Smart Lock (called the Smart Lock Pro), but it doesn't sound like this new lock will be available directly to consumers. Instead, the Smart Lock Pro will be offered through August Pro, a division of August Home that serves security dealers for home installation.

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Logitech Harmony, Google Assistant give your voice more power

Logitech Harmony, Google Assistant give your voice more power

If you ask Google, it would probably prefer that its Google Home speaker be the hub for your smart home. The reality, however, is that there are half a dozen or so different smart home "languages", some of which Google Home doesn't speak. It needs a multi-lingual interpreter to put them all under the mesmerizing control of your voice. And that is exactly what this integration with Logitech Harmony promises to bring.

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Ikea joins the smart home biz with Trådfri connected lights

Ikea joins the smart home biz with Trådfri connected lights

Although not exactly present in all corners of the globe, the name Ikea is well-known for ready-to-assemble furniture, and sometimes overpriced products. It isn't, however, known for being on the cutting edge of technology. Although it has dabbled a bit in augmented reality and wireless charging, it has yet to jump on the home automation market. It isn't jumping yet, but it is now at least dipping its toes in that still young segment. And like any budding smart home product, it's Trådfri line is starting with the simplest one of all: connected lights.

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Ultimate Zelda fan uses ocarina to control automated home

Ultimate Zelda fan uses ocarina to control automated home

The Legend of Zelda is a hot topic these days, what with the latest title, Breath of the Wild, debuting alongside the Nintendo Switch this month. To showcase his love for the series, Allen Pan of the YouTube channel Sufficiently Advanced took to automating his home and making it all controllable via an ocarina, the small wind instrument at the center of the iconic N64 Zelda, Ocarina of Time.

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D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD Review: HomeKit’s first camera is raw

D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD Review: HomeKit’s first camera is raw

Apple's HomeKit makes a simple promise: take the disparate parts of the connected home, and bring them together under one straightforward umbrella. Still, the stringent requirements around things like security and ease of setup has meant partner devices have been slower to trickle down to the market than for rival platforms: this D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD has the title of first HomeKit-compatible security camera available. $200 gets you a very wide angle lens and freedom from subscription fees, but there are still signs that neither HomeKit nor D-Link's camera are quite where the competition has reached.

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Nest two-factor authentication boosts IoT security

Nest two-factor authentication boosts IoT security

Nest is adding two-factor authentication to its smart home products, aiming to prevent third-parties or hackers getting remote access to your cameras or smart thermostat. The new feature follows increasing concern over the security of the so-called Internet of Things, a topic only likely to become more prevalent as connected devices proliferate. Nest will make two-factor authentication optional, though it's probably something you should turn on.

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Amazon Echo might soon be able to tell voices apart

Amazon Echo might soon be able to tell voices apart

Amazon arguably kicked off the “personal assistant in a can” line of products, so it’s almost fitting that it also be the first to implement one of the most needed feature for smart speakers. These devices can already recognize and understand voices and speech, but they can’t really differentiate one voice from the next, which makes for a sometimes hilarious, sometimes frightening situation. Amazon, however, is tipped to be working on a certain “Voice ID” feature that would put those worries to rest.

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Turn Touch smart home controller is carved out of wood

Turn Touch smart home controller is carved out of wood

Smart homes are usually more associated with science fiction but not everyone likes a hi-tech environment 24/7. Some would prefer a more cozy and natural feel to their homes, even with the pervasive presence of smart technology. Turn Touch delivers a small serving of that mix between technology and nature. Technically, it’s a Bluetooth controller for your connected appliances or even Apple devices, but one that looks and feels like it was made especially for you, because it really is.

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