Fathers of the iPod, Ton Fadell who created the first 18 generations of the iPod and the first three versions of the iPhone, and Matt Rogers who was responsible for iPod software development at Apple, have a new startup: Nest Labs. Their first product? The Nest Learning Thermostat, which is designed to intelligently "learn" the behaviors of the user and adjust accordingly.
During the first seven days of use, the customer will set base temperatures using a single dial which is like a big click wheel. Click the wheel right for the temperature to increase and the display to turn orange, or to the left, to bring it down and the display turns blue. The Nest then records your initial settings and starts to take over after the first week or so. As usage continues, Nest will fine-tune settings using sensors, algorithms and cloud computing.
As an example, Nest is able to detect when users have left the house using a motion sensor and it will throttle back heating or cooling accordingly. The thermostat also includes an ambient light sensor and will adjust the brightness of the display relative to the surrounding light in the room to not cause eye strain.
Nest is a "connected" thermostat, that interacts with your Wi-Fi connection updates over-the-air. Users also have the ability to remotely log into the thermostat to control it away from home on a computer, tablet or smartphone. This is a very cool feature that would allow you to heat your house up an hour or so before you get home. Nest also can check local weather conditions and use that data to adjust temperatures accordingly inside the home - very cool.
Nest Labs is launching the Learning Thermostat in mid-November for $249. Pre-orders are being taken now and everything required is included in the box. If you're scared of installing the unit yourself, you can opt for installation service when you're placing your order.