I consider myself a computer geek -- I'm comfortable with that. But today I'm having a new feeling: apparently I'm a thermostat geek. Yesterday I came across the Nest "Learning Thermostat," which has been making the rounds of nerd blogs. Basically, this is a computer-driven thermostat with some fancy features: wifi, various sensors, a HAL-like Big Red Eye, and even remote control (via wifi/web). There's also an aspect of gameplay built into the thing -- much like some hybrid cars have an indicator showing you when you're driving "optimally," the Nest shows a green leaf to urge you in the direction of using less energy (for example, in the winter it may show the leaf for a setting a few degrees cooler than you'd normally use -- encouraging you to use less heat). And finally, it actually has moving, physical parts (a ring), rather than the awful, awful touchscreen on my current thermostat (don't try to turn on the heat in the dark using my current thermostat -- it's impossible). Oh, and did I mention this was designed by Tony Fadell, who ran the iPod division at Apple? Basically, this is a geek's paradise. I've rounded up some of the Nest videos so you can geek out with me.
How It Learns
First up, check out Fadell's blog post "Thermostats? Yes, thermostats." Then read the Wired profile which includes some technical details, including how this thing manages to power itself. There's much more at the Nest website. The device isn't out yet, but is slated for late November. And in case you were wondering, no, I'm not paid by Nest or anyone else for this endorsement -- but I am super psyched to have a HAL-ostat on my dining room wall.