Thus far, the terms “smart-home” and DIY haven’t been synonymous. Consumers are able to purchase products that make mundane tasks around the house a bit easier, but the process of bringing a home into the 21st century is generally costly and pre-designed. However, Smartians, from Amsterdam-based FROLIC Studio, is a set of motorized knobs and switches meant for making the most of offline products you already own. The Smartian tools—which press, turn and do whatever else you need—lend a DIY, cloud-controlled upgrade to just about anything.
With app-connected motors, these gadgets bring devices throughout the house into the modern era. Individual Smartians can make the most of not so state-of-the-art products, dodging an upgrade to entirely new systems and costly overhauls. At the core of this is the fact that the newest smart products on the market aren’t very different from the older ones we already own—they just “have a few more brain cells,” as the Smartians team puts it. A set of Smartians is an efficient, waste-free and inventive way of doing so.
The starter kit—which will price right around €200—will come with two motors, a base, a hub and sets of each of the three turning, pressing and customizable add-ons (see the three in action). These tools then turn analog appliances—say, a record player, a thermostat, or a set of old-style curtains—into digitally-adapted devices. Hack the mobile above a child’s crib to turn on by tapping a button on your smart phone; open and close the blinds you already own from bed; turn on a tune (and adjust the volume) across the room, from the Smartians app.
“Many of the wonderful innovations out there are reliant on the fact that consumers need to replace a product that already works great, in favor of the new,” Andrew Spitz, co-founder of FROLIC Studio says. “We want to change that by empowering people to build their own smart home while still keeping their existing and often beloved devices. Doing so at a fraction of the cost of using smart devices—not to mention reducing the environmental impact of upgrading ones home.”
Having smart-controlled devices and appliances throughout your home is a welcome luxury—one that’s equal parts impressive and future-focused. But, the confusing technology and iffy functionality of some of the more reasonably-priced products on the market render making the switch a bit scary and senseless. Outfitting what you already have with personalized, specific-for-your-space tools is technology with a personal touch.
“It can be difficult to grasp what is happening behind the scenes of many of the smart devices out there. Smartians are mechanical, tangible and basically act as a remote hand or finger—making a smart device feel much less abstract than many of the products out there,” Spitz adds.
FROLIC Studio plans to have Smartians available by late 2019. So, if holding out on smart-fitting your home for a set is something you can do, we’d say it’s worth it—for the wallet and the brain.
Images courtesy of FROLIC Studio