DIY Smart Home: A Flood of New Products Promise to Let You Take Control of Your Home

It seems like every week there is a new product hitting the market promising to make your home a smart home. The products promise to save money, save energy, impress your friends at parties, or let you be even lazier than you already are. As an energy geek, I got excited about the new thermal camera for your iPhone, but many of these products can make you more comfortable and make your life easier.

This week, the new gizmo was the Ninja Sphere, which promises to control your lights, let you know when you left an appliance on, or even track your pets. Pretty cool, right? I really needed something to track my cat for me.

But if you don't want to pick one of the new products and worry about brands and the interoperability of your new stuff, why not just make your old dumb stuff smart?

A company called littleBits put out something called the CloubBit two weeks ago. It promises to let you "snap the internet to anything" so you can make your home smart without buying all new stuff. (Aside: two out of the three featured "smart" ideas on the CloubBit website are pet food related. Are we building smart homes for us or our pets?)

I've got a couple CloubBit projects in mind already: automatically turning off my wildly inefficient but great sounding tube amplifier, and remotely starting a second cycle on my clothes dryer. I even kinda wish I needed air conditioning here in SF, just so I could see what I could do with it...