Google’s Android OS is the dominant mobile platform by market share, but it’s also increasingly pushing beyond portables and onto a range of other devices types — including, if this crowdfunding campaign delivers on its promises, the boring old wall switches in your home.
bRight Switch is a prototype project that’s within touching distance of its $115,000 Indiegogo crowdfunding goal (with less than a day of its campaign left). Its aim is to replace plain old light switch hardware with what’s basically a small tablet fixed to the wall, expanding the functionality of the switch interface beyond simply just switching your lights on and off.
The bRight Switch actually plugs into a base unit to convert a wall switch from dumb switch to smart screen, but its makers claim the installation process is an easy job for an electrician.
The bRight Switch tablet design is customised for a wall-mounted context to offer features that make sense in such a setting, such as people detection to automatically turn on lights on when someone walks into a room.
Other features the smart switch is set to support include the ability to remotely switch your lights on and off via the Internet and a learning mode that gets to know your routines over time and automatically switches lights on and off based on prior usage.
Also on board is a security feature whereby you can play back footage recorded by the camera on one of the switches in another room. Plus videocalling (via Skype, or similar) and streaming music via Internet radio services such as Pandora.
Other features include a built-in alarm; temperature display; dimmer ability for certain types of bulbs; an intercom feature allowing for chatting between bRight Switches located in different rooms; plus other security features such as setting an alarm to be triggered by motion in a particular room.
The units will also run standard Android apps, so you could presumably fire up Angry Birds on your wall if you’re really bored. bRight Switch’s makers are also planning to supply an open API to encourage developers to create new apps for the wall beyond what they’ve envisaged.
Of course, all these features are aspirations at this point with only a prototype of the bRight Switch in existence. If the device hits its funding target, which at the time of writing is looking pretty likely, its U.S. based makers reckon they can deliver to backers by July.
The switches use Wi-Fi to plug into your home router to support functions such as Skype calling and streaming Internet radio, while the Z-wave wireless protocol is used for talking to lights around your home that are not wired directly to the switch.
How much will this smart light switch set you back? They’re charging $75 per switch for non-Bluetooth switches, and $90 for the Bluetooth version. Or $325/$435 for a five-pack of the two respective options.
What’s the point of the Bluetooth addition? Added functionality such as the ability to link up to external Bluetooth speakers for “full spectrum sound” — or, getting even more customised about home automation, the ability to track your phone (and therefore you) around the house, providing a “custom personalized experience as you move from room to room.”