Alarm clocks rarely do much to get people’s salivary glands fired up, but ivee’s Sleek may just change that. To be fair though, calling the Sleek an alarm clock is about as accurate as calling Microsoft an OS maker — the description technically fits, but it’s a hell of an understatement.
The Sleek may have the right looks to adorn your nightstand, but its big draw is that it’s capable of connecting to the Internet and interpreting your natural voice commands.
The ivee team showed off a pair of Sleek prototypes back at CES (which I’m now kicking myself for missing), but they’ve recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to help bring the thing to market. Here’s the team vision in a nutshell: once you’ve procured a Sleek, you can set it up and ask it to set alarms, tune the FM radio, or play soothing nature sounds as you drift away into darkness. Once it’s connected to your home Wi-Fi network though, it’ll be able to answer basic queries for weather and stock performance (thanks to Wolfram Alpha’s API).
Firing up a web browser and start digging into the Sleek’s backend reveals even more options, and that’s where much of the magic happens — users will be able to hook up certain sorts of smart-home gadgetry into the Sleek service, and can control them by chatting up the Sleek base station. So far the team has managed to get it working with the popular Nest thermostat and Belkin’s smart WeMo power outlets, and there’s a voice-control scheme for Roombas in the works, too.
Oh, and if you do decide to put the Sleek in your bedroom, can you ask it to read you a bedtime story. Sadly, it doesn’t look like backers have any say on what ivee reads (which, knowing the internet, is probably for the best). The big potential downside for home automation nerds is that the Sleek lacks support for some common wireless connectivity schemes like Z-Wave or even Bluetooth, but the team is looking to bypass that hurdle by folding support for existing hub devices that can handle that sort of wireless interfacing.
Sadly, the early backer spots (and the slightly lower price tags that went with them) have all been snapped up, so laying claim to a first-run Sleek will set you back a cool $179. In the event you’re dreaming of bossing your alarm clock around, you’ve got about three weeks left to back the project — the campaign has already blown through its funding goal, and the folks involved expect to get those backer units out the door sometime this October.