‘Alexa: Open the curtains’ – why I really like this easy house automation gadget


Have you ever ever opened your curtains within the morning and thought: “There should be a better approach to do that”?

No, me neither, however I am a sucker for house automation, so I used to be itching to check a superb gadget known as a Switchbot that professes to remove this tiresome job.

Switchbot set out as a well-liked kick-starter challenge with a deal with turning a house into a sensible house with out having to interchange all of the {hardware} you already personal. Certainly one of its key merchandise is slightly system that may flick switches and push buttons, and I’ve but to have a play with a kind of, however I felt drawn, for those who’ll excuse the expression, to their curtain system.

It is principally a motorised “bot” that attaches to a wide range of completely different curtain rails and makes use of a motor to propel the drapes alongside the rail, saving you having to do it your self.

Its main connection is thru Bluetooth, so you possibly can function your curtains together with your telephone, however by shopping for a hub it will hyperlink into your WiFi, which suggests you possibly can function your curtains from wherever – and even by way of a sensible speaker. There’s additionally a diddy distant management accessible, in case you possibly can’t be bothered to make use of your telephone and WiFi.

I’ve to confess, I used to be sceptical over how properly it could work. I imagined the bots can be a nightmare to suit, and I would have all types of teething issues.

However inside a couple of minutes of getting them out of the field, I would set every bot up and clipped it to my U-rail. They usually work brilliantly.

The method of attaching them takes no time in any respect, it is only a clip-on system. Linking it to my telephone took a number of makes an attempt, nevertheless it labored rapidly, after which organising the module and sensible speaker was a reasonably fast course of too.

There is a bit extra work to do in “calibrating” the bots, to inform them how far to run to shut the curtains correctly, and telling them when to cease as they pull them open, however the app is nice, and makes all of it quite simple.

The good folks at Switchbot additionally despatched me some photo voltaic panels to hook as much as the bots, which maintain the batteries topped up. These can both clip onto the bots themselves or, if the window is simply too far under the curtains, they are often caught onto the curtain.

Sticky tape and velcro, it seems, is not one of the simplest ways to do that. And that is the one possibility you will have. I’ve but to engineer a greater resolution, however I am engaged on it.

The app, by the way, will allow you to create schedules. So, for instance, you possibly can time your curtains to open when your alarm is because of go off. Use this selection with warning although, in case your spouse decides to stand up early for a run and the bots inadvertently nearly reveal all to the neighbours whereas she’s turning into her sportswear.

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This scheduling possibility does add a helpful safety facet although. Automated curtains make it appear to be your home is inhabited whilst you’re on vacation, so I shall arrange a routine once we subsequent go away.

Switchbot additionally presents equipment that can hyperlink as much as the curtain bots, permitting you to set them to open (or shut) when your home reaches a sure temperature, or when it detects movement. And you’ll arrange situations on the IFFT app, for those who’re boring sufficient to know what that’s.

The bots themselves do have a daylight sensor, so you may plausibly set them to open when there’s sufficient gentle, or to shut when the solar units, however I’ve discovered simply utilizing them manually, both by way of the distant or the sensible speaker is right.

Downsides? I do discover I often should recalibrate the bots, as certainly one of them retains forgetting the place to shut. But it surely’s not occurring all that usually.

They’re additionally a bit noisy. Initially, they scared certainly one of my canines, however she’s rapidly acquired used to them.

They value round £125 for a pair, or round £65 for one, which is a good bit of cash, however do keep in mind it is loads cheaper than putting in a brand new sensible curtain rail.

And that is the entire level of Switchbot. I have not wanted to do something to my curtains in any respect to suit these marvellous little devices. I simply clipped them on and away I went.

The app is good, the client assist is great, and barring a number of teething issues they work a lot, significantly better than I anticipated to.

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Certain, they could solely prevent a number of seconds, however having your curtains slowly glide open whilst you crack on with making your mattress is, actually, a pleasure. What an important little system.