Smart-home specialist SwitchBot has launched a crowdfunding campaign for its latest home automation product: the Blind Tilt, an add-on for Venetian blinds that allows for remote control — and which, thanks to a solar panel and integrated battery, should never need to be charged.
“The world’s easiest solar-powered smart blinds,” SwitchBot’s Zhichen Li claims of the company’s latest launch. “Here to help make your blinds smart instantly. Use our app to control your blind tilts whenever you want when at home. And when paired with SwitchBot Hub Mini you’ll be able to use third-party smart assistants and even control remotely when you’re outside of the house.”
The SwitchBot Blind Tilt has, the company claims, a simple three-stage setup: an adapter is attached to the pole, which controls the blinds manually; this is then clipped into the motorized main unit; finally, the main unit is wired to a bundled solar panel — small enough not to block your window, but big enough to keep the integrated 2Ah battery topped up.
The new gadget slots into the company’s existing SwitchBot ecosystem, meaning it’s compatible with the company’s in-house app, and with the optional SwitchBot Hub Mini works with voice assistants including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri Shortcuts, integrates with home automation platforms including IFTTT, Samsung SmartThings, and Line Clova, as well as the company’s SwitchBot Remote physical control. Operation of the blind-closing mechanism can even be automated through a SwitchBot Motion Sensor or Contact Sensor, the company confirms, or using the SwitchBot Tag system.
The device ties in to the existing SwitchBot ecosystem, though the open-source API won’t be available at launch. (📷: SwitchBot)
“Blind Tilt features a built-in light sensor,” SwitchBot adds, “which can automatically adjust the opening and closing angle of blinds according to the intensity of outdoor light, and can be linked with SwitchBot Color Bulb, allowing you to maintain constant light intensity when at home reading or working by your windows.”
The original SwitchBot launched on Kickstarter six years ago, aiming to bring physical switches into the Internet of Things (IoT) without the need to replace them. The idea behind its operation is simple: a small box is stuck to the switch and uses a tiny motor to physically push the switch based on remote control commands sent via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. With an internal battery, there’s no wiring required.
The bundle includes adapters for different wand sizes, the motor unit, and a solar panel. (📷: SwitchBot)
While SwitchBot claims to have “one of the most active opens source smart home projects available right now,” however, the company admits that the application programming interface (API) for the new Blind Tilt device isn’t yet available — and won’t be published until a month after the device’s retail launch.
SwitchBot has opened pre-orders for the Blind Tilt on Kickstarter, starting at $49 for early bird backers of a single unit — a claimed 29 percent discount on the planned $69 retail price. All hardware is expected to ship in December this year.