Axis Gear helps lower home energy use by raising window shades

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Axis Gear can help reduce energy costs associated with home heating/cooling, by blocking or allowing natural sunlight(Credit: Axis)

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Many smart home devices are designed to remotely control various aspects of living areas, with an added benefit of energy savings. One of the latest home automation products achieves those savings in a way that, so far, has been largely overlooked. Designed with mobile connectivity in mind and powered by solar panels, Axis Gear motorizes and automates home window shades, blinds, or curtains.

There are a variety of devices that help with electricity use and climate control. The well-known Nest Thermostat is internet-connected for easy adjustment, also learning from users' habits. The Haiku smart ceiling fan comes on when it detects people in the room and/or when the ambient temperature is too high. Outlet plug-ins, such as the wireless Ottobox or Bluetooth Nyrius Smart Outlet can operate individual appliances like floor fans or heaters. However, the efficiency of these devices can be hampered by windows allowing or blocking too much sunlight.

Axis Gear is designed to work with any beaded chain or cord loop, regardless of material, diameter, or length. Installation of the hardware is DIY and can be performed in a matter of minutes. Once Axis Gear has been mounted and paired with a mobile device, users are then able to remotely control curtains, shades, or blinds. On-device controls offer manual operation with a single touch, and multiple units can be controlled through a single Axis Gear. The internal motors are able to lift up to 20 lb (9 kg), which is more than enough to handle everything up to large floor-to-ceiling curtains.

During sweltering summer months, Axis Gear can be set to block light, to help keep interiors cooler. In winter, windows can permit sunlight and the added warmth it brings. Through the companion app, available for iOS and Android, users can schedule such operation, making it so a home's heating/cooling system doesn't have to work so hard. Not only can Axis Gear help reduce energy usage, but it draws power from solar panels that are optimized for indoor use with indirect sunlight. It also features a backup battery, just in case.

Those who opt for the smart home module can have Axis Gear mesh with other devices that communicate using ZigBee or Thread. The company also plans to integrate with IFTTT, providing users with the ability to set custom scenarios. Shades can be raised or lowered to work more efficiently with Nest. Additionally, Fitbit wearers can set blinds to open automatically when waking up in the morning.

Axis Gear is currently funding on Indiegogo, having raised 64 percent of its US$100,000 goal in 16 days, with another 14 days left to go. A pledge of $95 gets you one Axis Gear, saving $50 off the planned retail price. The ZigBee/Thread modules can be added on for an additional $20.

Although the team has set itself up with suppliers and manufacturers, Axis Gear still needs to go through manufacturing design and tooling/molding before production. If the schedule goes according to plan, backers can expect shipments of Axis Gear to start sometime next October.

Check out the video below to see how Axis Gear operates and integrates.

Sources: Axis, Indiegogo

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