With this $25 gadget, Amazon will finally get you to stop scoffing at the idea of a ‘smart home’

Dave Limp, Senior Vice President of Amazon Devices, introduces the 'smart plug' during an event at the Amazon Spheres, on September 20, 2018 in Seattle Washington.

Stephen Brashear | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Dave Limp, Senior Vice President of Amazon Devices, introduces the ‘smart plug’ during an event at the Amazon Spheres, on September 20, 2018 in Seattle Washington.

Earlier this year, Amazon launched a $25 smart plug that lets you control any outlet in your home by voice with an Amazon Echo. That means you can control any lamp, appliance or anything else that plugs into an outlet by speaking a phrase to Alexa like “turn on the living room lamp,” without having to find a switch. It even lets you add other smarts, like a schedule so the light turns on and off at certain times.

It’s a really easy way to turn a “dumb” home into a smart one that you can control with your phone or by voice. You don’t need to fiddle with complicated hubs or spend too much time trying to get something to connect to your WiFi network.

If you can plug in a lamp, you can get the smart plug working. I’m going to show you how to get the most out of it.

This is the smart plug

Amazon smart plug

Amazon smart plug

It’s very simple. Think of it as a sort of adapter that adds the brains to anything you want to plug into an outlet. It will let you schedule an appliance to turn on and off at a certain time, enable you to turn it on or off even when you’re away from home and let you activate it by speaking to Alexa.

All you need to do is take the smart plug, plug in the appliance to one end —it makes the most sense with a lamp because it’s a simple on/off appliance, but you can use anything from a humidifier to a fan — and then plug it into the wall.


“Personal Coolers For Helmets”: Bengaluru Start-Up’s Unconventional Idea

'Personal Coolers For Helmets': Bengaluru Start-Up's Unconventional Idea

A start-up in Bengaluru has come up with an innovative battery-operated personal cooling device for helmets which claims to create a micro-climate inside the helmet which is 6-15 degrees lower than the ambient temperature. Designed for one’s existing full-face helmet, the gadget provides a dust-free ride with a bonus de-fogging feature to fight the pollution and dust in the cities, the manufacturers say.

“The idea came with the thought that instead of cooling a room, why not cool the person?” said Sundararajan Krishnan, CEO of AptEner Technologies which has come up with water-based personal air cooler BluSnap.

“For the people wearing helmets, it is quite hot inside, it’s like being inside a furnace, so we thought that a helmet-wearing candidate is perfect choice to use the product. Other thought while designing it was to keep the gadget light for the wearer,” he added.

blusnap helmet with cooler

The battery can be easily be taken out for charging. Once fully charged, it lasts 10 hours.

The personal coolers can be attached to the chin bar of a full-face helmet and it comes with a replaceable filter that can be cleaned from time-to-time using tap water.

“We did not want to make a disposable filter, but something that can be re-used and is environment-friendly too,” said Arvind, the designer for BluSnap.

“The evaporative, water-based cooling technology keeps the insides of the helmet cool and dust-free. The air gets trapped in the water-based filter and what one gets is is cool, clean air. It has a defogging feature that will especially help people who wear eye glasses,” he added.

blusnap helmet with cooler

The miniature air cooler for helmet comes with detachable, replaceable parts.

The miniaturized air cooler which works by flowing air through a moistened filter; the evaporation of water from this moistened filter causes the temperature of the air to decrease giving one a cool air flow. It comes with a 10-hour long battery.

“We never had any doubt about the the concept. In Bengaluru’s pleasant weather also, where the temp is around 25-27 degrees Celsius, inside the helmet one is at at 36-37 degrees, so the case for cooling inside the helmet makes itself,” he said, adding that the only concerns were will people be open to adding another accessory to their helmet as it would add t some weight.

“Since the product is made in India, it has kept the people excited. They feel it’s their our own product. Also, our customers have given very positive and encouraging feedback so far,” Mr Krishnan said, who is currently focusing on the distributor network to make it accessible for more people in India and around the world.