We’ve told you before about Ninja Blocks, a home automation system that couples wireless sensors with simple software to create rules for things like motion detection alerts and remotely switching lights on or off. Now the eponymous Australia-based startup behind Ninja Blocks is hard at work on the next evolution of the connected home: the Ninja Sphere.
In addition to the environmental sensors of the Ninja Blocks system, the Ninja Sphere will be able to connect to just about any wireless device through WiFi, Bluetooth, or ZigBee (a wireless standard for low-power devices). That means your phone, webcam, and WiFi-enabled TV can all be part of your Ninja Sphere, along with any number of third-party home automation gadgets.
The heart of the Ninja Sphere is the Spheramid base station. Drawing on data from any networked sensors, the Spheramid will use a built-in LED display to represent information about the home environment, like outside weather conditions, indoor temperature, and electricity consumption. A camera will also provide gesture controls, which the Spheramid can relay back to, say, a smart socket to turn off an unused appliance in another room with the wave of a hand.
Where the possibilities really open up, though, is in the Ninja Sphere’s location tracking ability. Coupled with a pair of USB-powered Waypoints placed strategically around your home, the Spheramid can triangulate (well, technically, trilaterate) the signals coming from any connected gadget to determine its location and whether or not the device is moving. Draw in your floor plan and set up a few simple rules, and Ninja Sphere can turn on the lights whenever your smartwatch enters a room, then turn them off when it leaves. It can send a text alert whenever someone moves a valuable object with a smart tag attached. And it can let you know that you left your cell phone -- which, by the way, is getting a call from your boss -- in the bedroom, while you’re watching a movie downstairs.
The Kickstarter campaign for Ninja Sphere has already passed its funding goal, and the team plans to ship in June. Watch that page for updates or to preorder a Ninja Sphere kit, and visit NinjaBlocks.com for more info on the company and the original Ninja Blocks system.
Related: Home sensor systems