Update 5/22/2015: Things aren’t looking so good for Ninja Blocks. Read all about it here.
After having success with its Ninja Block product launch back in 2011, Ninja Blocks the company is coming back to take on boring home automation hubs. Well, they never really went anywhere. Instead, they were just busy working on the new Ninja Sphere.
The Ninja Sphere is a unique take on home automation hubs. Not only does it look different that your typical hub, but it also includes perks such as in-home location data and a gesture control interface. Of course, it does other things like your typical hub, such as connecting lights, appliances, heaters and air conditioners for remote and in-home access. It can even schedule use and auto-adjust based on the weather forecast so you don’t always have to keep tabs on things.
Everything can be controlled right on the actual device or through the Ninja app for iOS and Android portables. That remote access will come in handy for your forgetful moments, such as when you leave the house with the lights on. In those cases, the Ninja Sphere will actually notify you—because it starts to learn your schedule and preferences. And because it has support for Bluetooth Low Energy, it will even let you know if you’re about to leave the house without your keys. That in-home location feature: allows you to tag items such as keys and other things that you can’t seem to keep track of, including phones, wallets and pets.
Dubbed the “Spheramid,” the aforementioned: gesture control allows you to take on devices with the swipe of a hand. It even has an LED matrix, which can display information about your environment, including weather and energy use.
Right now, the Ninja Sphere works with a slew of popular smart home products, including: Philips Hue, WeMo, Sonos, LIFX, Nest, and much more.: According to Ninja Blocks, the company is open sourcing both their client and backend, so users of the Ninja Sphere won’t have to get locked into one particular ecosystem.
“We want to connect everything together,” says CEO Dan Friedman. “We make smart devices smarter, no matter who made them.”
Currently, the Ninja Sphere is available for pre-order for $349, which also includes one Smart Tag. The company expects to start shipping products by the end of this month, so if you want to order up a few extra Tags, those sell for $25 each. The company also makes compatible Smart Sockets for $55, with Smart Lights expected sometime in the near future.