Over the summer, we got word that a couple of unnamed ex-Apple engineers were getting ready to unveil an unnamed product, under the guise of an unnamed startup. As it turns out, that startup was Nest Labs, and those Apple alums were none other than Tony Fadell, longtime SVP of Apple's iPod division, and lead engineer Matt Rogers. And yes, the product they had to share makes fine use of a click wheel. But if you thought they'd be cooking up a next-gen music player, you'd be so wrong. Instead, the pair have been designing a thermostat, of all things, dubbed the Nest. In addition to being the most stylish model ever to grace a dining room wall, it also promises the kind of intelligence we've come to expect in other household appliances.
According to Nest, the thermostat takes just about a week to start picking up on your routine, at which point it adjusts the temperature accordingly. It knows, for instance, that the whole family's out of the house by 9am, and that people start trickling back in around four in the afternoon. That's all thanks to a collection of six sensors, which keep tabs on metrics like temperature, ambient light, humidity and motion -- whether it's fingers about to touch the display or people passing in and out of the room.
Because of those far-field sensors, in particular, the Nest knows that you're not at home if it hasn't detected movement in ages. So, it lowers the temperature anyway, even if that's a time when you'd typically be around. And let's say you have a few of these installed throughout the house. Although they each learn independently, they also talk to each other, so if you walk through the foyer, the thermostat upstairs will know you're home.
To know how it works, read more about NEST