Although the geniuses over at Google-owned
Nest Labs have yet to conjure up any further products — and by “products,” I mean ugly household staples transformed into sexy and smart design items — beyond intuitive thermostats
and non-shrill smoke detectors
at this point, if Tony Fadell and co. were
to release an air conditioner window unit, I’m guessing it would look an awful lot like Aros
, the latest and most significant creation born from a somewhat unlikely partnership between GE and Quirky, the community-based online invention platform best known for storage crates
, shower caddies, kitchen gadgets, and a wide assortment of tech-y novelty items.
While the Aros Smart Air Conditioner isn’t the first connected household product to be developed by Quirky and GE (smart egg tray
, anyone?), it’s certainly has the most potential to make the biggest impact on the energy- and money-saving fronts.
Essentially a sleek air conditioner with a built in smart thermostat, Aros functions in a similar manner to the Nest Learning Thermostat: it gradually learns your schedule, your location, your cooling preferences, and your budget to help keep you non-sweaty and also non-stressed over monthly electric bills.
Naturally, the 8,000 BTU device, which runs on fan, cool, and “eco” modes, can be controlled remotely via smartphone or tablet using Quirky’s Wink app for iOS and Android. And by harnessing your smartphone’s GPS settings, Aros automatically turns itself off when you leave the house and back on shortly before you arrive home, guaranteeing that you won’t return to a stuffy, sweltering living space (or an insane electric bill three weeks later).
Backing up — how exactly does the Aros know your budget? Equipped with the knowledge of how much energy it consumes, the cost of electricity in your area, and how much you’re willing to spend on running the damn thing, Aro is able to keeps tabs so that you don’t blow an entire paycheck on cooling your bedroom during the month of August. Along with usage, it keeps track of weather forecasts so that you can adjust accordingly before entering a heat wave.
Dr. Garthen Leslie, a former Department of Energy Employee and Quirky community member who designed the Aros Smart Air Conditioner, explains why
: “I was tired of choosing between wasting energy or suffering through the stuffy summer heat.”
Now that’s a man after our own hearts.
As for looks, Aros is a svelte, attractive unit in all white with touch sensors in lieu of clunky analog buttons and knobs. Cool air flows upward from the unit increasing circulation throughout a room. Even the device’s insulating retractable wings are good-looking.
Says Ben Kaufman, founder and CEO of NYC-headquartered Quirky: “After receiving the submission for this invention, it was clear that this was a product that absolutely needed to exist, but [also] a challenge that most companies would shy away from. With the support of GE’s technology expertise, scale, and supply chain, we were able to focus our efforts on leveraging our community’s ideas into a beautifully designed product where every aspect of the product’s interaction was attended to.”
Best of all, the Aros Smart Air Conditioner isn’t some conceptual gizmo that will be stuck in development limbo for the next several years. Thanks to GE's decades-long expertise in manufacturing air conditioners and the fact that the machine isn't exactly an AC reinvented but, rather, an AC made prettier and smarter, it’s available now via pre-order on Amazon.com for a reasonable $300 — not much more a less attractive, non-brainy window unit although it may not boast the pure cooling power that some shoppers are after. It will ship just before the mercury starts rising in early May.
In addition to Amazon, you can expect to find Aros gracing the shelves of retailers that carry GE products including Target and Home Depot.
Think you'll add the Aros to your existing arsenal of connected home products?
Via [GE Reports], [Gizmodo]
Related stories on MNN:
The Aros: Goodbye clunky old window unit, hello smart AC of the future
Invention start-up Quirky and GE launch the Aros Smart Air Conditioner, a window unit with added brains and good looks.