Home automation has been a hot topic in the tech industry lately.
Apple recently unveiled its new platform for connected appliances called HomeKit, and this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was filled with household gadgets that you can control using your smartphone.
Playtabase, a startup created by students from the University of Minnesota in 2012, takes a different approach to home automation than most.
Rather than taking out your phone to switch off your lights, Playtabase’s Reemo wristband allows you to control objects in your home by simply pointing at them.
Playtabase isn’t the only company experimenting with gesture control technology for home automation. PointGrab unveiled its camera-based gesture solution PointSwitch at CES in January, which allows you to turn off your lights with gestures, while the Myo armband allows you to control your home electronics with Jedi-like gestures.
Some of these smart home solutions, however, can be rather difficult to actually use. Often times, you need to point at a very specific area multiple times to carry out a command — negating the convenience behind the technology.
Playtabase claims that the Reemo, however, is different.
“This is something that’s going to be so easy my 85-year-old grandmother can strap on and use it,” Playtabase CEO Muhammad Abdurrahman told Business Insider.
The concept certainly sounds simple. The wristband is able to control various household objects through a smart plug, which communicates with both the bracelet and the objects its connected to.
Once the wristband is connected to the smart plug, you can control appliances by pointing at them and using simple gestures. For example, to turn on a coffee pot, you could point at the coffee pot and wave toward you as if you’re telling someone “Come here.”
“We focused on making our gesture set small and memorable,” Abdurrahman said.
The Reemo will work with both “smart” and standard home appliances, and you only need one plug to power multiple devices. The Reemo comes with a set of small checker-sized air receivers that you can stick on any object you want to use with the bracelet. These air receivers pick up signals from your wristband and the smart plug to interpret your gestures.
The company will be launching an Indiegogo campaign this week to raise $US50,000 for the Reemo, and was recently selected to join Microsoft’s Ventures Accelerator.
The Reemo isn’t meant to be a techie device for early adopters, however. Abdurrahman said it’s intended to help the elderly easily control the appliances in their homes.
“It has to be really simple,” Abdurrahman said. “Simply pointing at the things around you would make it accessible to people in a way that it hasn’t been before.”
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