UPDATED 14:38 EDT / AUGUST 26 2013

A Bear of Many Colors : Teach Kids to Conserve Energy + Other Smart Home Solutions

In this week’s SmartHome roundup, we’ll be featuring a sad polar bear that teaches kids to conserve energy, a way for people to automate their homes and offices, and several new security gadgets to keep your home safe.

Bobo the polar bear


It’s hard to teach anyone the importance of conserving energy, let alone kids.  So CareToSave has come up with a product that will help parents teach their kids the importance of conserving energy.  Bobo is a plastic polar bear that monitors your home’s energy consumption and glows different colors based on your behavior.  If the light is white, it means you’re below the average consumption and Bobo is happy.  Blue means your energy consumption is average and Bobo is encouraging you to save more energy.  Red means you’re over the average consumption and Bobo is sad.

Pair this light emitting bear with a sad, sad story of what happens to polar bears when you don’t conserve energy, and I’m pretty sure you’ll have your kids turning off lights that aren’t being used.



SmartThings offer a complete solution to help you get started in turning your home into a smart and connected one.  It offers a starter kit for $199 including a SmartThings Hub which acts as the brain of the whole operation, a SmartSense Multi which detects movement, vibration, orientation, and temperature, SmartSense Presence so you can keep track of easily lost items or pets, and a SmartSense Motion which detects movements and alerts you of this.

What SmartThings offers isn’t entirely new as we’ve seen smart home solutions that offer the same things before.  It’s just good to know that consumers now have a lot of options to choose from.

Home security


Canary aims to be the ultimate smart security solution, the only problem is, though it has surpassed its Indiegogo funding goal with still a few hours left to spare, people won’t get to see the device until next year.  Good thing there’s a lot of other security solutions stepping up to fill in the gap.

Piper is similar to Canary and offers almost the same thing, or even better, and it recently launched in Indiegogo.  It has a funding goal of $100K and in less than a week it has managed to raise over $66K.  Piper offers smart home security solution and automation and it is expected to start shipping by November, months ahead of the Canary.  Piper has a high definition camera with fisheye lens, ARM processor running Linux, flash storage, Z-Wave controller, WiFi, passive infrared motion sensor, high quality microphone, high fidelity speaker, temperature sensor, humidity sensor, ambient light sensor, 3-axis accelerometer, 105 dB siren, battery backup and RGB LED.  You can check in on your home wherever you are using a mobile app to help keep your mind at ease.

If you want your very own butler to answer the door for you but find it too expensive to employ a real one, you can either get an iDoorCam or a Goji Smart Lock.  The iDoorCam lets you see who is at the door as well as speak to them.  This way, you lessen the risk of opening your door to someone you don’t know.  It connects to a mobile app so you can see who’s at the door even if you’re thousands of miles away.

As for the Goji Smart Lock, it is a techified door lock that allows you to give door access to different people on your phonebook for certain amounts of time.  Aside from that, you can program the Goji Smart Lock to take a photo of who’s entering the door or any activity that involves your door.  No need to fish out your phone from your bag as it unlocks the door as you approach it.  Also, you can remotely lock or unlock your door wherever you are in the world.  It is now available for purchase for $245 and comes with 4 life time electronic keys and 2 mechanical back up keys.

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