With Teptron's Move, you'll be able to retrofit your existing window shades with a simple, Bluetooth-enabled motor. The spool in the device can supposedly fit almost any cord or bead chain. Stick it on the wall next to your window, insert the chain, and you can raise and lower your shades with your phone, set schedules, or program the shades to automatically raise or lower if it gets too bright or hot.
The concept behind automatic shades isn't new. QLink and showed off smart options last year at Denver's home tech show, and Serena offers customizable blinds compatible with 's smart home system. Move, from Swedish tech startup Teptron, and available for pre-order via its Kickstarter campaign now, is the first to get around the expense of replacing your existing shades to make them smart.
Price and availability
You can order a single unit with a solar panel now for $29 and it'll ship anywhere in the world come February of 2016, assuming Teptron meets its fundraising goal. The $29 price is actually converted from Swedish Krona. For those in the UK and Australia, the single-unit price converts to approximately £18.55 and AU$39.64. You'll also find plenty of bundles on the Kickstarter page if you want to be ambitious and smarten up all of the window coverings in your home.
What's in the box
Each pack includes the Move itself, which is a small, white, rectangular panel with a motor and a Bluetooth antenna. It'll come with a wall mount and double-sided tape, so you can choose how to mount it. The pack will even include a small solar panel. Move can be powered by an AC adapter or four AAA batteries. Oddly, neither of those will be included in the pack, but if you spring for rechargeable batteries, you can use the solar panel to give Move self-sustaining power.
Installation looks simple enough. You'll place Move on the wall by the cord for your blinds, put that cord into the spool, and snap on the lid. Move will be compatible with both iOS and Android devices at launch, with a Windows app coming further down the line. It's Bluetooth only, so you won't be able to control your blinds remotely. But Teptron added a mesh protocol over the Bluetooth radio, allowing your shades to act as signal boosters for each other. Hopefully, you'll be able to control your upstairs blinds from downstairs via your Move sensors relaying the signal.
It won't work for you if you don't control your blinds with a cord, and you'll want to be mindful of the effect of sticking a white box on your wall in front of your shades if they're particularly stylish. I'm also not sure how it senses light and temperature, as none of the diagrams on the Kickstarter page show these meters.
That said, if the hardware and software development go as planned, Move will have found a simple answer to a complex problem, and being able to offer this functionality for a much more budget-friendly price than the competition could give Teptron a significant edge at launch.