The idea behind a smart home is that it’s supposed to think for you. In reality, we’re a long, long way from being there, so for the time being, we’ll have to make do with simple. Sensors have gotten very cheap, which has resulted in a torrent of smart home products like motion detectors, security cameras, and smart thermostats. Sen.se has been in the smart home mix, but hasn’t made it big just yet. They’re hoping that going small will do the trick — their new SensePeanut line is full of tiny, standalone sensors that push data to your smartphone.
They’re leading off with the ThermoPeanut, which was released at the beginning of the month. There’s not much to it — it’s a small device maybe about twice the size of an actual peanut, and it takes temperature readings. The device will record data periodically, which you can review using a Bluetooth-connected smartphone within a range of 200 feet. It’ll be able to read temperatures between -5° F and 140° F, and that’s about it. Simple as that.
If you don’t want it to be that simple, you can adjust how often ThermoPeanut takes readings and set up alerts in the event of extreme changes in temperatures. For those heavily invested in smart home tech, it’s possible to export data as a spreadsheet or use the ThermoPeanut with Nest and the IFTTT app, so changes in temperature detected by ThermoPeanut can be used to automatically activate other smart home devices.
ThermoPeanut is just the first of many Peanuts on the way. Sen.se will also release a sleep tracker, a medicine tracker to check if pills have been taken, and a door monitor to detect when doors and windows have been opened or closed, among several others. These will all be managed through one app, which can act as a hub — if a smartphone or tablet is left on and plugged in when you leave on vacation, it can continue to pull in data that you can view while you’re on vacation.
Still, it’s hard not to see a reliance on Bluetooth as a weakness when it comes to smart home gadgets. While the Peanuts are very easy to use in their simplicity, they can’t be used with other smart home gadgets very easily, which really limits their usefulness (nor can they be easily monitored while you’re away). It also makes it much harder for the Peanuts to work with true smart home hubs like Alexa, which remains the simplest way we’ve seen to manage a smart home. Wi-Fi connectivity increasingly seems like the way to go, at least for now.
Still, if you’ve got a problem area in your home, or a room that tends to get too hot or too cold for whatever reason, the ThermoPeanut could come in handy. It’s available now for $29 from Sen.se or Amazon.