On the heels of NEST’s learning thermostat another household smart gadget has entered the market. Former Department of Energy employee Garthen Leslie’s smart air conditioner became available for pre-order on Amazon on March 18th, with the goal of saving home energy costs for consumers in the summer months. Officially called Aros, the projected cost for the unit is $300, and will be in people’s homes in May according to its landing page.
According to Txchologist, Leslie came up with the machine’s design and pitched the idea to Quirky, an online community of some 2,000 designers. Quirky and GE, which provided AC engineering know-know, helped him improve and finish the machine in just a few of months.
“After receiving the submission for this invention, it was clear that this was a product that absolutely needed to exist, but [also] a challenge that most companies would shy away from,” said Ben Kaufman, Quirky founder and CEO. “With the support of GE’s technology expertise, scale, and supply chain, we were able to focus our efforts on leveraging our community’s ideas into a beautifully designed product where every aspect of the product’s interaction was attended to.”
Kevin Nolan, Vice President of Technology for GE Appliances, said that Aros was “a great example of how by working together, GE and Quirky can re-invent an entire category quickly and at scale.”
Future smart-AC owners will be able to control Aros from a mobile app based on a personalized operating budget. The unit will then adapt its performance based on user-generated location and behavioral data.
Right now Aros is designed to cool medium-sized rooms of 350 square feet, but with a partner like GE Capital helping to bring the unit to market it’s only a matter of time before this smart technology becomes available on an industrial scale. Any industrial manufacturers looking to save money while keeping their employees happy this summer should keep a close eye on Aros unit sales. If they go up then the production team will be well equipped to scale the technology to broader applications in the workplace.
To learn more about the origins of the Aros smart airconditioner, watch this awesome video, which shows Leslie seeing his invention unveiled in the Quirky laboratory for the first time: