Fluid One: The Future Of SmartHome Remote Control
The new Fluid One smarthome system aims to give you control of your smart home by pointing your phone at a device, gestures, or location.
All of us saw a preview of a revolutionary new approach to controlling our houses’ various SmartHome devices last year. But now, voice instructions or switching between apps isn’t required; just point and click with this upcoming convenient iPhone app. However, developer Bastian Andelefski’s impressive iOS presentation wasn’t just an idea; he’s the Technical Advisor for a new smart home remote called Fluid One, which is now soliciting funding on Kickstarter.
While healthy competition in any industry is desirable, when companies compete to have their proprietary technology become the industry standard, it can lead to products that are more difficult to use than they need to be for the average consumer.
If companies like Sony, Samsung, and LG launched their competing connection standards, it would be more challenging to connect many devices and displays, despite the High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) being a convenient option for doing so. It’s exactly this problem that’s been troubling the smarthome recently. As well as being bad for businesses and consumers alike, the proliferation of product ecosystems is a major hindrance to the development of the smarthome market.
Optimistically hopeful about the future of the smarthome include the Matter initiative, which has brought together many companies in an effort to standardize the way smarthome devices interact with one another. The issue, however, is more complex than simply a lack of compatibility. Tim Ho, the co-founder of Fluid One, thinks that an even bigger issue is that Matter provides no guarantees to improve users’ interactions with their smart gadgets.
“Smarthome interactions are unintuitive and inefficient,” Ho said in a statement. “This is true whether you’re trying to set up thousands of individual sensors for automation, construct lengthy voice commands, or navigate between many dedicated applications.”
While Ho acknowledges that Matter will improve certain aspects of the smarthome, he also acknowledges that it has the potential to further complicate the situation. “There is a good chance that as the Matter project becomes more well-known, more people may begin integrating previously unrelated smarthome technologies. Under those conditions, the current interaction problems will become far more severe.”
Last December, Andelefski came up with a demo video to find a hardware developer to collaborate with to take his ideas from the conceptual idea to a final consumer-friendly product. Fluid One has high hopes of fulfilling this promise. The system uses Apple’s augmented reality development tools, additional UWB signals, and an optional smart hub that can be purchased through this Kickstarter campaign to take advantage of the ultra-wideband U1 chip that has been included in Apple’s iPhones, starting with the iPhone 11.
Using Apple’s ARKit and the UWB signals, Fluid One can determine not only the location of an iPhone in a given area but also the location of all the smart devices in the area and the specific one toward which the iPhone is being pointed. When a user aims their iPhone at a smart device like a remote control, the app may tailor the controls displayed to the exact device.
A smart speaker may display a volume slider, while a smart lamp may display a color wheel. The system makes a highly informed estimate as to what the user is attempting to control rather than requiring them to navigate through numerous menus or switch between apps. Included in this category are automations tailored to a person’s current location, such as lights that switch on when it gets dark in the vicinity.
The UWB chips used in the Fluid One system’s beacons sound like cutting-edge technology. Still, their restricted range of about 20 feet means that many beacons need to be positioned throughout a room with multiple smarthome devices in it. Fluid One’s Kickstarter campaign’s goal is to gather $100,000 to go toward manufacturing the hardware, with the lowest option (with four beacons) costing $249 and the most expensive (including the hub that enables automation) costing $449. The suggested retail prices of $400 and $600 are reasonable cost projections.
As is the case with the vast majority of Kickstarter projects, the estimated delivery date is early in the next year. For the time being, users of Fluid One will only be able to use the system if they have an iPhone 11 or later or until Google installs the required capabilities to make the system operate with Android phones. Let’s cross our fingers that Fluid One is the solution and not just more unnecessary complexity for the SmartHome.