A Sensor That Monitors Your Home

Credit: Courtesy CubeSensors

Gadgets to make your home smarter — like LED bulbs from Philips and TCP and remote cameras — are everywhere now. But for the most part, what they do (turn on lights, or monitor Fido), are limited. CubeSensors, little sensors that connect to your router, can gather all sorts of data — humidity level, temperature, air quality, light, and other factors — and make it easier to monitor and adjust any room in your home. 

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The cubes — which are sold in a two-pack for $299 with a connecting base — are easy to set up. You shake one at a time to sync with a free app that runs in your browser. (The company has not made their mobile apps available yet.) Pick up a cube and shake it; blue means good and red means bad. The battery will last you about a month or two.

In our tests, one of the sensors in an upstairs office reported low light conditions, and down in a basement living room, the second sensor reported high humidity and poor air quality. Of course, the solutions were simple: adding a lamp, changing a furnace filter, and using a "dehumidifier" setting on our air conditioner — all easy fixes we didn't know were necessary. Beyond that, the cubes can detect loud noises, and a pressure sensor can predict when a storm is moving in. The Web app even alerts you if the sensor is moved. 

The main issue with CubeSensors is that they don’t make for a very connected home. For example, it’s one thing to know you have high humidity, but it’s another to be able to use an app on your phone while you're upstairs to adjust a humidifier you have sitting in the basement. While CubeSensors have some issues, the simplicity of shaking a cube and seeing it glow red is a great wake-up call. But for the price, the small little cubes could pump out a lot more information. 
[$299 for two; cubesensors.com]