I stopped writing long about home-automation launches on Indiegogo, Kickstarter and elsewhere in the ether. They all make the same IoT and AI claims, and pack their hubs full of all the popular goodies – ZigBee, Z-Wave, Thread, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, geofencing, and now 5G; humidity, motion, ambient light, indoor air quality, temperature and other sensors de rigueur.
There’s usually nothing new to see; the proof is in the finances, business savvy and resolve.
But there is something new about Domotron, the latest Indiegogo project touting “The Most Advanced AL-Powered Smart Home” and “The Learning Smart Home Hub That Programs Itself.”
The hub looks like all the other failed home-automation hubs through the years, and the claims are just the same:
- “Works with the most popular smart home devices”
- “Creates personalized home automations”
- “Learns from your preferences and routines”
- “Replaces complicated settings a with a user-friendly chat”
- “Setup takes 5 minute”
But the user interface, the Domotron Switch, is novel, pretty and pretty exciting. It’s a wireless touch-sensitive piece of glass with hidden LEDs that light up only when presence is detected or users react with the device – sliding their fingers up and down to adjust the temperature, audio or other settings; or pressing the hidden physical buttons behind the glass.
The really new thing, though, is this: The Domotron hub features a built-in Qi wireless charger, making it a useful product on its own, perfect for kitchen counters, night stands and other trafficked spaces. The Domotron Switches have a Qi chip, too, so you can pluck them off the wall and set them on the hub to recharge. Battery life has been a big obstacle for wireless switches, touchpads and other untethered smart devices – especially those with Wi-Fi, multiple sensors and LED lighting. A quick-and-easy charging solution can make all the difference.
To me, that’s the one takeaway of the Domotron story. The entire story, by the way, is a good one, but not credible until the products are on the shelf, in the home, and well-reviewed.
Domotron Features, Specs and Claims
The Domotron promo video is predictably cheesy and overly optimistic, with hyperbolic claims like: “Can you imagine Tony Stark manually programming his home to deal with every situation imaginable?” and “We spent countless hours perfecting the automations to the point that there is no need for manual control anymore. Everything happens automatically.” And “A real smart home understands what a romantic mood looks like. It picks the perfect mood. It picks the perfect music and sets the lights just right ….”
- USB-C (for power)
- USB 2.0
- Bluetooth 4.0
- Wi-F 4
- ZigBee 3.0
- NFC (passive Tag)
- Wireless charger (Qi)
- Amblient light LED stripe
- Single-slider LED switch for US; double-slider for EU
- Heated glass for anti-fogging
- 2 microswitches for US; 4 microswitches for EU
- Monochrome LED display on each slider
- RGB LEDs for level indicators
- RGB LEDs for ambient back-light
- ‘Grid-EYE’ sensor to detect presence, not just motion
- Humidity sensor
- VOC sensor
- Luminosity sensor
- ZigBee communications
- ZigBee 3.0, IP, Rest API
- Currently compatible via IP and/or Zigbee: Ikea, Philips Hue, Sonos, Somfy, Netatmo, iRobot, Xiaomi Mi, SmartThings, Amazon Alexa
Pricing & Shipping
- Indiegogo Special pricing (30% off retail): One-room kit with hub and dual switch – $349; Four-room kit with four switches – $769; Distributor’s kit with 10 hubs and 10 switches – $2,999.
- Shipping: Begins shipping in March 2020.