written by:
November 11, 2014
Tech startup Quirky and GE, who officially announced their partnership in April of 2013, launched seven new products that seek to reinvent home security, outlets, switches, and sensors. With the fleet, the companies believe they have the potential to make smart home technology accessible. "Through partnerships, products, and our platform, we believe we'll finally connect the home," Ben Kaufman, Quirky's founder and CEO, stated at a press briefing.
quirky and GE smart home connected technology product range

Quirky and GE announced seven new smart home products that have been under development in the two years since the companies announced their partnership. The initial ideas for the products were submitted by members of Quirky's crowdsourcing platform and were brought to market by the tech startup.

1 / 8
quirky and GE smart home connected technology tapt lightswitch

Michael Taylor of Canton, Georgia, submitted the idea for the Tapt light switch. It features two buttons: a traditional on/off control and one that can be programmed to do any action, say, dim a bulb or turn all the connected lights in your house on. When smart bulbs are turned off by traditional switches, connectivity is lost. Not so with Tapt. Additionally, there's no need for a separate dimmer. Ben Kaufman, Quirky's founder and CEO, says that lightbulbs make up 40 percent of the products that Wink users control through the app. "Lightbulbs are the gateway to the connected home," he says. Over 100,000 people have started to use Wink since the app launched 126 days ago. 

2 / 8
quirky and GE smart home connected technology Norm HVAC controller

Denny Fong of Toronto, Ontario, invented the Norm smart thermostat and sensor. "The largest tech challenge at Quirky to date? The thermostat," Kaufman says. He and the company began to question the very premise of the technology. "It's one of the most outdated products," he stated. "You don't need thermostats, you need sensors to keep the ideal temperature." Instead of controlling heating and cooling based on a single thermostat, Norm can pair with sensors throughout a house to detect temperature and humidity in individual rooms and allow you to set a schedule based on your budget.

3 / 8
quirky and GE smart home connected technology outlink outlet

The Outlink smart wall outlet and energy monitor demystifies energy bills by allowing users to see exactly what appliances and electronics are using how much energy. Michael Taylor invented this product.

4 / 8
quirky and GE smart home connected technology overflow sensor

Recognizing that water damage is often one of the most costly catastophes to happen to a home, Michael Taylor (who invented three of the seven new products) sought to create a sensor that will alert you to moisture levels in your home. The Overflow retails for $35, which is far less than the ost of water damage to a home—insurance companies say the average sum is $10,000. Suggested install locations are near water heaters, toilets, and washing machines.

5 / 8
quirky and GE smart home connected technology spotter uniq

In addition to revealing the product fleet, Quirky announced plans to build a factory in San Francisco that will manufacture made-to-order smart home electronics, like the Spotter Uniq, a device that can be custom configured to include sensors for temperature, humidity, sound, light, and motion, among others. Based on what's detected, the Spotter can trigger actions in other connected devices. For example, if it detects motion, a light turns on. Moreover, users can specify what colors they'd like the housing to be. "Sensors are going to be a part of our lives and they should be nonobtrusive," Kaufman said during the press conference. "We can customize electronics to the needs of consumers; you can build your own ecosystem." The entire device will be made under one roof from start to finish (components, too) and the nature of the item required a Stateside manufacturing facility.

6 / 8

About the size of a USB drive, the Tripper sensor that Robert Sweeny of Winnipeg, Manitoba, invented sends alerts if a window or door is opened. As a home security device, it lets people detect if an intruder enters a house; for parents with young children, placing this on a medicine cabinet could prevent accidental ingestions.

7 / 8

When installed, the Ascend controller turns most existing garage openers into connected doors so that people can make sure they're not accidentally left open. 

8 / 8
quirky and GE smart home connected technology product range

Quirky and GE announced seven new smart home products that have been under development in the two years since the companies announced their partnership. The initial ideas for the products were submitted by members of Quirky's crowdsourcing platform and were brought to market by the tech startup.

The new devices are geared toward lighting, energy consumption, and security—the top three areas where smart technology has the most potential to make an impact according to research by Quirky and GE. Kaufman called the products "the seven building blocks for an affordable and accessible home." They give users the ability to see real-time information about their home—data on how much energy a particular appliance consumes (and hence, its operating costs) or its temperature and if a door or window is open, for example. The new items, which begin shipping in December 2014, are the Tripper window and door sensor ($35 per pair); the Overflow moisture detector ($35); Outlink wall outlet with integrated energy monitor ($50); Tapt programmable light switch ($60); Ascend garage door opener ($90); Norm HVAC controller ($80); and Spotter Uniq customizable sensor ($30–$120).

Through today's announcements, Quirky and GE have addressed two barriers relating to the adoption of smart home technology: ease of use and affordability. With the exception of the Uniq sensor, none of the products retails for over $90. Each of the new Quirky and GE devices can be controlled through the Wink app, a connected home platform that allows users to operate multiple smart home products—manufactured by Quirky and dozens of partner brands—through a single interface. This means no toggling back and forth between multiple apps and program settings to accomplish a desired action.

"We wanted to make things easy for the average user, not just the tech enthusiasts," Kaufman says. "Invention without adoption isn't invention."

Home Depot is a current retail partner for Quirky's connected-home products and Wink-controlled devices; they're also available to order on wink.com.

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

45 dva 2270 persp1 cmyk 0
The prospect of retirement doesn’t just signal the end of a career; it offers the chance to recalibrate and re-prioritize in life.
July 25, 2016
You don’t have to choose between sustainable energy and curb appeal.
July 19, 2016
jakemagnus queensland 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
July 06, 2016
content delzresidence 013 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 29, 2016
abc malacari marwick stair 01 0
A simple set of stairs is a remodel’s backbone.
June 28, 2016
Design Award of Excellence winner Mellon Square.
Docomomo US announces the winners of this year's Modernism in America Awards. Each project showcases exemplary modern restoration techniques, practices, and ideas.
June 27, 2016
monogram dwell sf 039 1
After last year’s collaboration, we were excited to team up with Monogram again for the 2016 Monogram Modern Home Tour.
June 27, 2016
switch over chicago smart renovation penthouse deck smar green ball lamps quinze milan lounge furniture garapa hardwood
A strategic rewire enhances a spec house’s gut renovation.
June 26, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent coralie gourguechon treviso italy cphotos by coralie gourguechon co produced by isdat planche anatomique de haut parleur1
Coralie Gourguechon's paper objects will make you see technology in a whole new way.
June 26, 2016
green machine smart home aspen colorado facade yard bocci deck patio savant
Smart technology helps a house in Aspen, Colorado, stay on its sustainable course.
June 25, 2016
Compact Aglol 11 television plastic brionvega.
The aesthetic appeal of personal electronics has long fueled consumer interest. A new industrial design book celebrates devices that broke the mold.
June 25, 2016
modern backyard deck ipe wood
An angled deck transforms a backyard in Menlo Park, California, into a welcoming gathering spot.
June 24, 2016
dscf5485 1
Today, we kicked off this year’s annual Dwell on Design at the LA Convention Center, which will continue through Sunday, June 26th. Though we’ve been hosting this extensive event for years, this time around is particularly special.
June 24, 2016
under the radar renovation napa
Two designers restore a low-slung midcentury gem in Napa, California, by an unsung Bay Area modernist.
June 24, 2016
Exterior of Huneeus/Sugar Bowl Home.
San Francisco–based designer Maca Huneeus created her family’s weekend retreat near Lake Tahoe with a relaxed, sophisticated sensibility.
June 24, 2016
light and shadow bathroom walnut storage units corian counter vola faucet
A Toronto couple remodel their home with a special emphasis on a spacious kitchen and a material-rich bathroom.
June 24, 2016
Affordable home in Kansas City living room
In Kansas City, an architecture studio designs an adaptable house for a musician on a budget.
June 23, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment oak vertical slats office
By straightening angles, installing windows, and adding vertical accents, architect Aaron Ritenour brought light and order to an irregularly shaped apartment in the heart of Athens, Greece.
June 23, 2016
kitchen confidential tiles custom cabinetry oak veneer timber house
A modest kitchen addition to a couple’s cottage outside of Brisbane proves that one 376-square-foot room can revive an entire home.
June 23, 2016
feldman architecture 0
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 22, 2016
Blackened timber Dutch home
A modern dwelling replaces a fallen farmhouse.
June 22, 2016
hillcrest house interior kitchen 3
Seeking an escape from bustling city life, a Manhattan couple embarks on a renovation in the verdant Hudson Valley.
June 22, 2016
Atelier Moderno renovated an old industrial building to create a luminous, modern home.
June 21, 2016
San Francisco floating home exterior
Anchored in a small San Francisco canal, this floating home takes its cues from a classic city habitat.
June 21, 2016
modern renovation addition solar powered scotland facade steel balcony
From the bones of a neglected farmstead in rural Scotland emerges a low-impact, solar-powered home that’s all about working with what was already there.
June 21, 2016
up in the air small space new zealand facade corrugated metal cladding
An architect with a taste for unconventional living spaces creates a small house at lofty heights with a starring view.
June 21, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent marjan van aubel london cwai ming ng current window
Marjan Van Aubel makes technology a little more natural.
June 21, 2016
urban pastoral brooklyn family home facade steel cypress double
Building on the site of a former one-car garage, an architect creates his family’s home in an evolving neighborhood of Brooklyn.
June 20, 2016
Modern Brooklyn backyard studio with plexiglass skylight, green roof, and cedar cladding facade
In a Brooklyn backyard, an off-duty architect builds a structure that tests his attention to the little things.
June 20, 2016
the outer limits paris prefab home living area vertigo lamp constance guisset gijs bakker strip tablemetal panels
In the suburbs of Paris, an architect with an eco-friendly practice doesn’t let tradition stand in the way of innovation.
June 20, 2016