March 27, 2015 report
Indiegogo project 'Switchmate' lets you run light switch from your phone without rewiring
A team at PCH International within a group known as Highway1 has posted an Indiegogo project that appears to be popular with would-be investors—the Switchmate—a project that has already drawn more than triple the targeted funding goal.
The Switchmate is extremely simple (and inexpensive—a super early bird starter went for just $39) and that is by design. Its purpose is to allow for turning on and off a wall switch using a phone app, or to have the switch turned automatically at a designated time. Not much new there—what is new is that the Switchmate does its thing without the user having to resort to putting a smart-bulb in a lamp or rewire a wall switch. Installation requires nothing more than placement over an existing wall switch (either rocker or flip)—a magnet holds it in place. The app that goes with it is pretty simple as well—it is a screen that shows a virtual picture of the Switchmate—press it and the switch is moved to its opposite position, on to off, or off to on. Easy as that.
The downside to not having to wire the Switchmate is that it is (rechargeable) battery operated, though the team promises the battery will last at least a year under above normal use (switching 10 times a day)—the battery runs a servo motor that moves the switch.
The app allows for adding Switchmates, with names for each so that users can keep track of which device is controlling which switch. The Switchmate talks to the app via Bluetooth, which means it is strictly local, but it allows for programming, say for having a light come on every day at a certain time, or having it turn off at a different time. It can also connect with other phone features, allowing a user to cause a switch to be flipped, for example, as they are driving up their driveway. The Switchmate can also be paired with a LogiTech Harmony Hub, allowing a user to run the Switchmate remotely.
The group behind the Switchmate, Rob Romano, Daniel Peng, Ashish Dua and Andy Landles are offering a delivery and satisfaction money back guarantee and an expected ship date of December 1.
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