As the market for smart home products continues to grow, tech-saavy homeowners are faced with a problem: The more connected your house becomes, the less connected your myriad devices are to each other. Nest keeps the room at a perfect temperature, Sonos puts on the mood music, and Philips Hue dims the lights, but those devices don’t always talk to each other. The nCube, created by Philip Steele and designed by industrial design firm Map, presents a streamlined solution: one device to control all other devices.
The nCube–which is now raising funds on Kickstarter–comprises two parts. The first is an app that integrates the apps of other connected devices. Open it up on your phone, and a dashboard displays the weather, information about your house like the state of the heating and cooling systems, as well as shortcuts to other apps–but the tool is most handy in its use of what it’s termed “cubes.” Each “cube” creates a particular environment based on a series of devices working in conjunction. In the morning, for example, a preprogrammed cube can turn the lights on, play the radio, and start percolating the coffee. To watch a movie after work, “evening mode” will bring the lights down, shut the shades, and increase the brightness on the TV screen.
The second part is a hub that connects to a broadband box. Designed by Map, the bright blue hub is meant to stand out from Internet routers but blend in with its environment–stacked on a bookshelf or hidden behind the TV. For even more discretion, users can even keep the device in its clean, letter-box-size packaging that features a hole to run the cord through.
As with any Internet-connected device, nCube runs a security risk, but the designers tried to curb it by not asking for social media profile information to sign up. The nCube was also designed so that all data and settings are held on the internal hub, rather than on cloud servers.
With an expected launch window of February 2016, the nCube is expected to retail for around $200, but can be had for ~$150 via an early-bird special on Kickstarter.