Innovation That Matters

Plug-in-the-wall device offers home control and information


Ubi enables homeowners to control their house and access the internet through vocal cues.

There have been a couple of innovations to bring computing power to home appliances in the recent past – from lights controlled through touch enabled wall paint to cookers activated by text – but so far the home remains fairly analogue. Aiming to change that however, is plug-in-the-wall device Ubi, which enables homeowners to control their house and access the internet through vocal cues. The product is a box equipped with a wifi connection that is plugged directly into a wall socket. It also has a microphone, speaker and color-changing light that are used to communicate with the user and sensors which monitor the light levels, temperature and humidity of the room. Much like the Siri function on Apple devices, Ubi responds to voice commands – the Ubi can be used to search the internet vocally, play music located on another device, set an alarm, record and playback voice memos and generally interact with other computer devices. The light can be linked to weather, stocks or email feeds, changing color dependent on the information received. Homeowners with multiple devices can link them up to each other, allowing for monitoring of the whole home. Smartphone push notifications can then be set up when activity is detected in another part of the house. The Ubi has successfully raised enough funds to begin production through Kickstarter, where early backers could purchase a single device for USD 149. The campaign is now finished although there is no word on how much the Ubi will retail for once it becomes available. The following video shows the device in action: The Ubi is a step closer to making the home more digital, connecting it to the tools we already use on our computers and mobile devices. How else can the home be brought into the 21st century? Spotted by: Smith Alan



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