By Camilla McLaughlin
New applications for mobile devices mean that no matter where you are, it will always seem like someone is home at your house. Crestron recently released an iPhone app that allows you to view room and device status and adjust lights, temperature, and windows.
Crestron Mobile on the iPhone talks directly to the home control system without any third-party software or external servers. Any updates or changes to the control program are automatically sent to the iPhone when the app is launched, and new locations are easily added. Crestron Mobile is compatible with the original iPhone, iPhone 3G and the iPod touch.
Energy efficiency is behind the latest crop of tech tools. Much of a home’s wasted energy comes from lighting. Even if you don’t automate lighting you can still have selected lights turn off and on automatically with the new Wireless Occupancy Sensor from Lutron Electronics Co. No new wiring is required. Simply place the sensor on the ceiling and replace the standard light switch with a compatible Lutron dimmer or switch. The sensor can be programmed to automatically turn lights on and off or to turn lights off after they are turned on manually. The dimmer also allows you to automatically turn lights on to a dimmed level rather than full on, saving even more energy. Best of all, the batteries are designed to last up to 10 years.
Leave no carbon footprint with this solar-powered home theater. Most electronics are not power misers, but recently Home Theater Specialists of America (HTSA) demonstrated that it’s possible to have a full-featured home theater without using any power. Through its members, HTSA is offering a home theater package that includes an HD front projector, control system, 5.1 surround sound and a 100-inch screen connected to solar panels. The solar panels return power to the grid, enough — according to HTSA — to run the theater 19 hours per week every week.
Nothing is as basic as a fire, but the newest technology keeps the temperature and the flame under control. This year, Fireplace Xtrordinair introduced Green Smart and the Smart Thermostat Mode, which automatically adjusts the flame height based on pre-set temperatures, conserving fuel and maximizing heating ability while extending the viewing pleasure of the fire. Additionally, Green Smart technology also means a fireplace can be connected to a home’s automation system.
Big Brother might not be watching but you can be — watching, listening, or even talking, with iRobot ConnectR, a virtual visiting robot you can access via the Internet and drive around your home to see, hear and interact with whomever and whatever you want. This is one innovation sure to perplex your pets.
Not Quite Ready For Prime Time
It’s not here yet, at least for consumers, but this product is just too enticing to pass up. This year, Phillips introduced its new WOWvx technology in a line of 3D monitors. Currently the monitors are only available for commercial applications, but can a consumer version be too far behind? Sony’s debut of their 3D technology at the Consumer Electronics Show in January created a lot of hubbub, and industry experts are wagering that 3D television will be available for consumers in three to five years.