BARCELONA, Spain--Time for a new meaning to "plug and play": the BeeWi Mobot is a power plug that not only controls the gadgets in your home, but also tells you what's going on while you're out, thanks to a SIM card and an iPhone app.
The Mobot is a prototype shown off here at Mobile World Congress by smart toy-builder BeeWi. Plug the Mobot into a power socket, then plug an electrical appliance or gadget into the Mobot, and the Mobot will control that gadget. What makes it more than just a boring old timer plug is that all the Mobot plugs in the house can talk to each other, and to your phone. Originally, they used ZigBee, but the finished version is set to use Bluetooth instead.
The master Mobot has a SIM card in it, which then connects to the other SIM-less Mobots via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. You can then turn each individual plug on and off from wherever you are with an iOS app. The app also lets you schedule your lamps, your washing machine, or whatever is plugged in to turn on or off automatically at set times.
The Mobot can also let you know what's going on in the house. It has a motion detector and can text you when it detects someone moving around, whether it's warning you of an uninvited intruder or letting you know your kids are home safe. And you can set the plugs to turn on the lights or fire up your computer when you walk in the room.
The plugs also have a temperature sensor to warn of fire, and have a battery inside so even when the power goes out, the Mobot has enough juice to warn you that it's time to come home and rescue the contents of the freezer.
The BeeWi Mobot is planned to arrive in the second or third quarter of this year. At present, it's planned to cost a rather steep 149 euros (around $195, £130) for the master Mobot and a further 59 euros ($80, £50) for each peripheral plug -- it's only when you consider this product is largely aimed at people with second homes that the price is put in perspective.
For more on the latest phones, tablets, and just about anything with a SIM card in it -- including a GPS walking cane and a Wi-Fi-powered coffee machine -- check out our news, previews, and videos from Mobile World Congress.