Home Technology Fluid One lets you point your iPhone to a smart home device for control – Digikar

Fluid One lets you point your iPhone to a smart home device for control – Digikar

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Fluid One lets you point your iPhone to a smart home device for control – Digikar

✔️ 2022-08-17 16:15:00 – Paris/France.

In December last year, we saw an interesting proof of concept of being able to control smart home devices just by pointing your iPhone at them. Now, a startup called Fluid One has brought that developer on board and added the missing piece of the puzzle: hardware.

The video demo below looks extremely slick, but setting it up for a typical home won’t come cheap, at $800 at Kickstarter pricing…

Background

The iPhone’s U1 Ultra Wide Band chip allows it to determine its proximity to other UWB devices and determine their distance and direction. This is the method used to precisely locate AirTags in the home.

I was incredibly impressed with this when I tested it.

I tested this by asking my girlfriend to hide my keys, then went to find them with the Find My app.

The way it works really feels like magic. I wandered down the hallway until it picked up the signal, then it gave me both distance and direction with incredible accuracy. It literally guided me to their exact location at the back of a shelf without the need to turn on the sound. I was blown away by how well it worked!

iOS developer Bastian Andelefski saw the potential in this for a much more efficient way to control HomeKit devices.

I was originally inspired by the way “Find My” gives you direction and distance to the device you’re looking for. If you redefine the problem from “where is the beacon” to “where am I relative to the beacon” and make sure the beacon doesn’t move, you end up with very good positioning within it.

The “field of view” of iPhones when it comes to UWB is quite limited though, so to allow the user to roam freely, I had to combine it with ARKit. Basically the U1 chip provides a known location in the room and from there ARKit takes over and tracks your movement relative to that point.

The problem was the lack of suitable UWB hardware, and that’s where Fluid One comes in. It brought Andelefski on board and then created a Kickstarter campaign to fund the hardware.

Fluid One

The Fluid One system effectively uses a bunch of oversized AirTags called Smart Nodes. By placing one of these on each wall of a room, the app knows which direction you are pointing it. You can then point to individual smart home devices and mark their locations.

The app creates an augmented reality model of your home to “see” where each device is, then the smart nodes along with the map of your home allow the app to identify each device you point to.

You can also do without motion sensors, as the system determines where you are from the location of the iPhone in your pocket, and can therefore do things like turn lights on and off as you approach and leave.

The result, according to the company, is a truly intelligent controller.

At Fluid, we aim to seamlessly connect your actions, your decisions and your home – making the environment around you its own responsive interface.

To bring this vision to your home, we’ve built Fluid One, the next generation of smart home control and automation, all on your smartphone. It’s the first smart home system to allow intuitive interaction with your surroundings, by pointing, gesturing or moving around your home. No need to carry extra remotes or install other bulky hardware in your home. […]

Our holistic dashboard automatically renders a personalized virtual replica of your home, allowing you to access, monitor and control the statuses of all your devices from anywhere. To ensure the interface is intuitive and easy to use, we support rendering customizations to match the unique details of your home. Quickly access and view the statuses of all your devices, in a realistic overview of your home, and monitor summaries of your devices in each room with just a double click

But… it’s a Kickstarter, and it’s extremely expensive

We don’t normally cover crowdfunding campaigns until a project is fully funded, and they can provide us with a working prototype for testing. That’s because it’s unfortunately all too common for things to go wrong and backers not getting their promised kit.

This one we’re covering not because we’re suggesting you support it, but because it’s an interesting idea.

Even if you’re happy with the risks, Fluid One is incredibly expensive. While options start at $249, that only covers one room. To cover even a modest-sized apartment, you’ll need the Pro Kit, which starts at $749.

Here’s the compromise I’d like to see

Personally, I’m not interested in pointing my iPhone at something to control it, even though it was much more affordable. It feels too much like stepping back in time to infrared controllers.

What I would have like, however, is that the Home app knows what room I’m in and displays the screen for that room. Although I sometimes want to control devices in other rooms, I’d say 98% of my smart home usage is controlling things in the room I’m currently in. So if Apple could use this kind of technology to just figure out where I am home and default to the Home app screen for that room, I would be very happy.

What is your opinion? Watch the video below and share your thoughts in the comments.

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SOURCE : Digikar

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