Set up your own programmable smart home for Peanuts

Want to set up your house to be a fully programmable connected home, but don't have the money? Sense's nifty little Peanut tags help you take virtually any object or task and give it a smart upgrade.

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Inspired by the connected fobs from Sense's 'Mother' system (shown on the pill bottle and remote), Peanuts can be programmed to make everyday objects smarter.

Claire Reilly/CNET

CES 2016 has opened the door to smart home of tomorrow and, quite frankly, we like what we see! But what if you want to live in a connected home and you just can't afford to kit your place out with the latest tech?

Now you can do it for, and with, Peanuts.

Sense, the makers of smart-home platform Mother, is helping smart-home fans get in on the ground floor (I promise that's the last architectural pun) with a programmable sensor fob known as the Peanut.

There are six different colourful Peanuts in the range, each about two inches long and each with a different smart sensor and customisable function. For example, the Thermo Peanut measures the temperature in a room and sends notifications if it changes, while the Med Peanut works on any standard pill bottle to detect when you take your medication and buzz if you miss it.

The tags have appeared in a similar format as part of the Mother system, but now Sense is breaking them out of this platform and selling them individually for the very accessible price of $29 (AU$42, £20). That means you won't need a full, expensive set-up to program your home -- just buy one or two tags, program them with the accompanying app to do what you want, and you're set.

As the concept of the Smart Home grows in popularity, there are plenty of products emerging with connected features baked into their design -- think smart doorbells, voice-controlled sound systems and connected fridges. And these are the kinds of devices that will be woven into the fabric of our lives within the next decade.

But as we gear up towards a fully connected future, there are plenty of 'dumb' objects around the home that are becoming smart through connected add-ons, and this kind of retrofitting that is bringing the Smart Home within reach for the average consumer.

That's where Peanut excels. If you don't have a smart thermostat, a connected water bottle or a smart set of car keys that you can find with an app, Sense has a Peanut to help you program these kinds of objects. Think of it as a window into what the smart home can offer (OK, that was the last one).

There are Six Peanuts on offer:

  • Thermo Peanut: Measures ambient temperature every 15 minutes, and sends alerts if it goes out of a preset range.
  • Med Peanut: Customisable scheduling for medication. Detects when you use pill bottle and reminds you if you miss a dose.
  • Safe Peanut: Sticks to any object (e.g., a jewellery box) and notifies you of suspicious activity or if someone touches the object.
  • Sleep Peanut: Slips under the mattress to wake you up. Offers bedtime reminders and works with Nest thermostat to ensure optimal sleeping temperature.
  • Proximity Peanut: Attaches to keys or important items and buzzes to locate them. Notifies you when items are out of reach, and can be pressed to locate your phone.
  • Peanut Button: A wireless smart button that be programmed to do virtually anything (send messages, control your home, trigger actions). Works with IFTTT Internet-of-things standard.

Peanuts are available to 'reserve' through the Sense website, and they're set to ship in spring 2016.

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