Here's a cool little addition to the increasingly competitive world of home automation. Ube's got a WiFi Smart Dimmer that utilizes multitouch functionality to control the lights in your house -- use one finger to turn off a single light, or use two to turn off a set. The company picked SXSW as the venue to announce the forthcoming launch of customized gestures for other smart devices -- in the example given to us by CEO Utz Baldwin, a user can input a "W" to turn on the sprinklers -- or an "A" plus up swipe to turn on an alarm and an "A" plus a down swipe to disable it.
Sadly, the functionality won't be available for the launch of the first generation, though it's likely to come in time for the second generation, along with a software update for early adopters. Interested parties can support the company via Kickstarter right now -- Ube's a bit over halfway to its goal of $280,000, with 24 days to go. You can also watch Baldwin discuss the product and today's news in a video after the break.
Ube WiFi Smart Dimmer hands-onSee all photos
Zach Honig contributed to this report.
Ube Announces A Smart Light Dimmer that Can Control Your Other Smart Gadgets
Demo 2012 People's Choice winner Ube (pronounced "yoo- bee") announced that their WiFi Smart Dimmer (currently funding on Kickstarter at http://kck.st/YjegPU) will have the ability to control other smart devices in the home by simply gesturing on the dimmer's capacitive multi-touch interface.
The Ube dimmer replaces standard wall switches to control incandescent, LED and CFL lights. It's based on an ARM 32-bit processor running embedded Android and contains a Wi-Fi interface. The dimmer has a unique multi-touch capacitive interface that allows the light to be turned on or off by sliding a finger up or down on the glass switch front. Using two fingers can control multiple lights and using the familiar pinch-close gesture turns off all the lights in your home using machine-to-machine communication between multiple dimmers.
The innovation announced today takes advantage of the machine-to-machine capability and expands it to other devices on the network that can receive IP based commands. As an example, if a user draws a "W" on the dimmer, a signal could be sent to an IP connected water sprinkling system to turn on or off the sprinkler. This specific example is backed up by Ube's partnership with Greenbox, a water sprinkler controller with Wi-Fi connectivity (also funding on Kickstarter here: http://kck.st/XbEE0w).
Ube's dimmer can be programmed to work with a variety of other IP based home devices as well. For instance, the letter "A" followed by an upward swipe can arm the alarm. Similarly an "A" then a downward swipe could disarm the system. The gestures are user programmable and therefor are secure. Ube has filed for a patent for this unique design.
The opportunities to utilize this gesturing ability are expanding rapidly. Earlier Ube announced cooperation with the Almond+ router. Ube is a founding member of the Internet of Things Consortium (http://www.iofthings.org) and is committed along with many other companies to open APIs and open standards for the hundreds of home devices that sit on the IP network including thermostats, Smart TVs, Set Top Boxes and media streamers.
Ube is a mobile platform company making solutions for the connected home as part of the Internet of things. Ube's technology is designed to control a new genre of electronic appcessories from a free smartphone app. This technology obviates the need for expensive custom control systems to control home electronics and instead uses IP communication protocols for control of a variety of connected home electronics
These Smart Dimmers are priced from $49 to $69 on Kickstarter and have a variety of features not found on other dimmers designed for home use.
• A free mobile app to run on your smartphone
• Dimmers can communicate with each other to control lights across a room or entire house
• Users can customize lighting "scenes" such as "party", "dinner", "all-on" or "all-off" etc.
• Each dimmer has sub-metering to report energy usage for each light switch allowing
users to monitor and control their lighting bills
• Dimmers control any 120V dimmable bulb including incandescent, fluorescent and LED
• Users can create an "away" mode to automatically turn on and off lights to mimic home
presence for security
Users who order these dimmers can expect delivery starting in June 2013. Early Kickstarter backers receive a discount on the regular prices.
The Ube Smart Dimmer uses standard IP protocol to communicate with the cloud and with the Ube smartphone control app. Ube also plans to publish an open API so that developers can create their own SW apps to control the Ube smart dimmers.