5 Connected Objects to Smarten Up Your Home

Lauren Indvik
January 20, 2013
5 Connected Objects to Smarten Up Your Home
Ninja Blocks ($199)

Ninja Blocks ($199)

Kickstarter-funded Ninja Blocks are wirelessly connected mini-computers embedded with a range of sensors that can detect humidity, temperature, motion, light and distance, among other things. Using Ninja Blocks' accompanying software system, you can communicate with a range of systems through SMS, Twitter, Foursquare, Evernote and more. You could, for instance, program your Ninja to text you when someone rings your (wireless) doorbell; turn on the light by talking to Siri; tweet at you when your pet's water bowl runs dry; or, when motion is detected in your garage, take a photo from your webcam and upload it to Dropbox. Introductory kits cost $199 and will resume shipping in March. More affordable alternatives include Knut and Twine, both of which cost $99 but have fewer sensors and capabilities than Ninja Blocks. You can purchase a range of add-ons sensors and connected devices for the Knut, however, including sensors for moisture and water pressure, as well as a magnetic door switch, for $25 apiece.

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Imagine waking up in a fully automated home. The light on your nightstand gradually begins to brighten, your blinds unfold to welcome the morning light, coffee brews in the kitchen and music begins to play, all without you lifting a finger.

Until recently, even partially automated homes were exclusive to the domains of engineers and home owners wealthy enough to hire them (or creative students with some extra time on their hands). But now those systems are becoming more affordable and easier to manage, thanks in part to Kickstarter-fueled interest in "The Internet of Things," as well as integrations with SMS, smartphones and web-based applications like Twitter and Dropbox.

[More from Mashable: Top 5 Kids Apps This Week]

We rounded up five objects to help smarten up your home. We've focused primarily on affordable, tested devices already available on the market, but also included a few high-ticket and soon-to-be-released products to ignite your imagination. If you're interested in more DIY, check out Lifehacker's roundup.

Photo courtesy of Lockitron

This story originally published on Mashable here.