Tag Archives: ipod

Nest Learning Thermostat

When you think of a thermostat, what comes to mind? I picture an old, off-white colored box that’s dusty and sort of works. You know the kind I’m talking about that exists in American homes which nobody gives any thought to.

Typical Household Thermostat

Nest Labs, ran by Tony Fadell (of Apple iPod fame), just introduced their new thermostat on Techcrunch.

Did I ever think I would be posting about a thermostat? No, but this one has obvious iPod inspired DNA.

Nest Thermostat (via TC)

The Nest is simply a giant circle that you can turn left or right to decrease or increase the temperature. Oh yeah, it has one button on the screen in front. Does that sound familiar?


Also, the Nest appears to have a proximity sensor and has smartphone level guts. The latter (smartphone processing power) doesn’t do much to set itself apart on today’s market.

I don’t know what the current market for expensive thermostats looks like. Price-wise, the Nest is surely an expensive luxury product compared to your Vanilla off the shelf thermostat. But then the dollar amount for the Nest is relatively insignificant when it comes to your home’s central heating & A/C system. If you’re renting or selling your house, the Nest would be an easy way to increase the overall value of the property by more than the cost of the Nest.

While the Nest is nice, I don’t see people running out and buying it if their current thermostat is in an OK working condition. But as discussed in the previous paragraph, it could be a relatively inexpensive investment to set your home apart if you’re doing extensive renovations anyways.

I’m not in the target market for the Nest, but it’s nice to see startups target hardware. With Square, Fitbit, and Nest, it’s nice to see startups tackle “market disruption” via a non-CRUD web app.

Camera Design

This is what constitutes popular (good?) camera design today:

Olympus E-P1 digital pen

An obvious design throwback to the days of film cameras, but not very imaginative.

I’m of the firm belief that camera design as we know it today has tremendous room for change. Take the micro 4/3 standard that is mirrorless. ┬áIt’s what enables the E-P1 above to be significantly slimmer than a traditional DSLR and retain interchangeable lenses. Going slimmer is just one possible direction.

Below are some camera concepts that break away from “the standard camera” look (think Leica).

D5R Concept by Ned Mulka

This is a neat concept, but not super practical. Why go through all that body change without a number of obvious benefits? Still, +1 for daring to make a camera body that doesn’t conform to legacy design.

WVIL Concept by Artefact

The WVIL concept excites me a lot more. I think the future of professional cameras may involve wireless lenses syncing to a generic touchscreen (think Android phone, iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad). The WVIL concept is great, but why reinvent the wheel with a proprietary touchscreen when an off-the-shelf generic touchscreen suffices?

I can easily envision a world where a professional photographer has many wireless lenses (perhaps with a gorilla pod each) that are all controlled by a single iPad remotely. All a person would have to do is set up multiple wireless lenses before a sporting event starts. During the event, the lenses would (since this is the future we’re talking about) take continuous ultra high-definition video. The touchscreen controller would be used to monitor focus and other settings.

iPhone 4

Another trend in camera hardware is the disappearance of noticeable hardware. With smartphones packing incredibly better cameras (as in “decent enough”), it’s possible to get high quality photos without carrying around a point and shoot. The trend of nearly invisible camera hardware will only get better as phone cameras improve.