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Over time, Nest automatically learns about its homeowners through the homeowner's actions, and automatically makes temperature changes that suit the user's needs

Engineers from Google and Apple have stepped in to update a small gadget known to create large monthly energy bills: the thermostat.

Thermostats can be a pain. Some have old or complex interfaces that make it much too difficult to program, so homeowners must constantly tweak the heat or air conditioning for that right temperature. Even when a thermostat is programmed, MSNBC reports that the small box accounts for half of the power consumption of a home, leading to shocking energy bills at the end of the month.

To address these issues, a team of engineers, many of which are from Google and Apple, have come together to create an updated thermostat: the Nest learning thermostat.

Nest consists of a circular screen and a dial-based interface that is clear and simple to navigate. It tells the homeowner what the current temperature of that zone is, and how long it will take to reach a desired temperature so that the user doesn't constantly tweak it in order to reach that temperature faster and end up overcompensating.


Nest also has two types of proximity sensors. One sensor activates the screen as you near it, which saves internal battery power when you're not directly in front of it. The other identifies your occasional presence in the room, which allows it to detect when you're at home or away. It will automatically adjust its settings when you're away to save energy. When a few degrees are adjusted for energy savings, a glowing leaf appears.

What truly makes Nest unique is its ability to learn. Over time, Nest automatically learns about its homeowners through the homeowner's actions. For instance, if a homeowner has a fairly regular work pattern of leaving from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Nest will pick up on this pattern and adjust temperature settings accordingly. When heat or air conditioning settings are changed, Nest is paying attention to see what the user prefers. It only takes about one week for Nest to learn regular patterns and begins making these changes automatically for the homeowner.

Nest even has built-in Wi-Fi, which allow Android, iPhone or iPad users to control the thermostat from their mobile devices. Nest is capable of learning these actions as well, and will eventually start making the adjustments that the user makes from outside of the home.

Nest is currently available for pre-order at Nest.com, and will run you $250. While this seems like a pricey introductory cost, Nest engineers believe the device will pay for itself when you see a change in your energy bills.
 

Sources: Nest, MSNBC



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$250 - really?
By Dr of crap on 10/25/2011 12:35:04 PM , Rating: 5
I have a Lux thermostat.
It can be set for the week and then Sat and Sun seperatly.
It has 4 setting changes per day.
That's right you can set it to turn down the heat at night and back up in the morning.

It also KEEPS the settings for heating and cooling, so when you flip it to cool in the spring, it remembers from last summer what the settings were. Same for heating.

And it will do this all for the low price of - $20!
It called a set back thermostat.
And it's been doing this for that past 10 years.
Not sure why I'd need this $250 waste of cash!




RE: $250 - really?
By quiksilvr on 10/25/2011 12:55:31 PM , Rating: 4
Because it's made by Apple Engineers and shiny. Therefore, $250.


RE: $250 - really?
By sprockkets on 10/25/2011 1:43:01 PM , Rating: 2
$250 isn't really much. Most high end systems like Carrier Edge can cost $400, and their Infinity over $500 if you need to replace it.

Those also will do their best to anticipate heat load as well. While this thermostat tries the same via clever methods, most really will never do what Carrier's upcoming Greenspeed can do, vary the cooling and heating from 40-110% continuously. THAT is how you do precise and energy efficient cooling.


RE: $250 - really?
By Dr of crap on 10/25/11, Rating: -1
RE: $250 - really?
By sprockkets on 10/25/2011 9:00:01 PM , Rating: 2
I'm just saying, if you want a decent thermostat that works well, you are going to pay $200+ just for the thermostat.

Of course I don't expect you do know that since you aren't an a/c tech. That isn't marketing at all; those thermostats require an a/c tech to properly install. And if the one above most likely would too to reach its full potential.


RE: $250 - really?
By zibby on 10/26/2011 8:40:44 AM , Rating: 2
so what you saying is that thermostat will help boiler/furnace run at 110%? Really?


RE: $250 - really?
By sprockkets on 10/26/2011 11:13:00 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, this is true, and also already done on Mitsubishi mini splits. The compressor can go over capacity in heat mode vs. cool mode. To explain why this is possible and even necessary would take awhile.


RE: $250 - really?
By sprockkets on 10/26/2011 11:24:24 AM , Rating: 2
Just to clarify, this only happens on communicating thermostats that are designed to work with that system only. Obviously they can't do that on traditional 24v signaling.


RE: $250 - really?
By name99 on 10/25/2011 2:50:22 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Because it's made by Apple Engineers and shiny


EX-Apple AND EX-Google engineers.
It's tough, isn't it, when you don't know who to hate?
You also need to hate on HP/Palm/WebOS because they are (ultimately) ex-Apple.

Maybe you can decide that MS are the underdog, and rather than ever using your brain again, you can just mindlessly praise MS' offerings and hate on anything vaguely related to Google or Apple.
But what if MS and Apple enter into some sort of joint venture? Damn, it's tough trying to go through life without ever using your mind :-(


RE: $250 - really?
By kensiko on 10/25/2011 12:58:47 PM , Rating: 3
It's a gadget, made to impress your friends when they come home


RE: $250 - really?
By ratbert1 on 10/25/2011 1:40:42 PM , Rating: 3
Maybe you already knew this but you are correct:

“If you don’t make it look beautiful, people don’t cherish it,”(Tony) Fadell told Wired. “I want it to be a jewel on the wall so that it’s a conversation piece. People come over and they go, ‘What’s that on your wall?’ and you go, ‘Oh, you’ve got to check this out.’”


RE: $250 - really?
By augiem on 10/25/2011 2:16:10 PM , Rating: 3
In other words, he wants it to stick out like a sore thumb in your house decor.


RE: $250 - really?
By curelom on 10/25/2011 1:01:23 PM , Rating: 3
Maybe I could get it to go with my $500 fan from that vacuum cleaner company. Oh wait, I don't have one because it's $500.


RE: $250 - really?
By LordSojar on 10/25/2011 5:18:28 PM , Rating: 1
It's worth the money if you want a nice looking, very easy to use and highly modern house/apartment. Personally, I'm getting 2 for my new loft next year. Even if it only pays for itself by 25-50% (which it will), it will be worth it.


RE: $250 - really?
By callmeroy on 10/25/2011 3:15:47 PM , Rating: 2
Mine made by Honey Well I think but its the same deal..

Its programmed on a schedule set it and forget it... I love it it.


RE: $250 - really?
By undummy on 10/25/2011 3:22:25 PM , Rating: 3
It has the word "Nest" on it. It'll make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. There is no price too big to pay for warm and fuzzy. Just look at Solyndra, Spectrawatt, EveryGreen Solar, Sunpower, Tesla, Fisker......

I don't live in a house, home, condo, apartment..... anymore. I live in a nest. OhhhhAhhhhhHmmmm


RE: $250 - really?
By Solandri on 10/25/2011 5:55:54 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
I have a Lux thermostat.
It can be set for the week and then Sat and Sun seperatly.
It has 4 setting changes per day.

And it will do this all for the low price of - $20!

We had those at work. Out of ~50 employees, I was the only one who knew how to program it, despite trying to teach the people who were actually responsible for programming it.

You remember how back when every house had a VCR, 98% of them were permanently flashing "12:00"? That's the average level of capability you're dealing with when you make gizmos which need to be programmed. A device which learns by itself and gets it right 70% of the time, is a whole lot more effective than a device which will only be programmed to work right 2% of the time.


RE: $250 - really?
By Captain Orgazmo on 10/25/2011 8:59:15 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. Same applies for vehicle climate control; when I have to use company vehicles the temperature is either set to minimum or maximum from the previous driver. Boggles the mind.


Aren't heaters and AC either on or off?
By Schrag4 on 10/25/2011 1:28:19 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
It tells the homeowner what the current temperature of that zone is, and how long it will take to reach a desired temperature so that the user doesn't constantly tweak it in order to reach that temperature faster and end up overcompensating .


Doesn't a heater just pump hot air until the house is warm enough? Doesn't an AC just pump cold air until the house is cool enough? I didn't think that setting the temp higher or cooler than you really want it gets it to where you really want it faster.

Oh, and the high price? Consider it just another in the VERY long line of taxes on the stupid. If you can't figure out a $20 thermostat in 10 or 15 minutes then you deserve to pay $250 for one that can figure out what you want for you.




RE: Aren't heaters and AC either on or off?
By Fritzr on 10/25/2011 1:45:20 PM , Rating: 2
There are 2 different siturations where the higher/lower temp setting speeds things up.

1) intelligent furnace/heat pump/AirCon that selects high/med/low depending on temp differential.

2) User is conditioned to believe that selecting a large differential causes the device to work faster. (Watched pot effect)

In either case the user is required to return to the thermostat to reset it when the desired temperature is reached. This rarely occurs resulting in enduser complaints about lousy thermostats :P


RE: Aren't heaters and AC either on or off?
By cjohnson2136 on 10/25/2011 2:21:07 PM , Rating: 2
I like the method of just leaving the A/C on at 72 all summer and not turning the heat on at all during the winter. That's what hoodies and blankets are for. You want to save money do that method. I save a bunch of money.


RE: Aren't heaters and AC either on or off?
By bobsmith1492 on 10/25/2011 2:27:14 PM , Rating: 2
Good for you for living somewhere warm. The other 100 million of us in the US don't have that convenience. :-)


RE: Aren't heaters and AC either on or off?
By cjohnson2136 on 10/25/2011 2:29:47 PM , Rating: 2
Actually Maryland does get cold in the winter. The temp can range from negatives to over 100 throughout the year. So it's not a walk in the park.


RE: Aren't heaters and AC either on or off?
By bobsmith1492 on 10/25/2011 2:36:21 PM , Rating: 2
You apparently have never had a frozen pipe?


RE: Aren't heaters and AC either on or off?
By cjohnson2136 on 10/25/2011 2:46:53 PM , Rating: 2
Nope, I have dealt with them when they freeze at my parents because there basement does not have great insulation but never had an issue with my pipes freezing even when the temp gets really cold. The coldest it gets inside the house is typically around 40


RE: Aren't heaters and AC either on or off?
By Dr of crap on 10/25/2011 3:00:54 PM , Rating: 2
You sir are either an idiot or don't have the money to heat your house.
Why not live in a tent? It's about the same temp.
My house never goes below 65°F. And that at night ONLY.


RE: Aren't heaters and AC either on or off?
By cjohnson2136 on 10/25/2011 3:04:34 PM , Rating: 3
Actually it's not my choice lol My wives thinks it saves us so much money. It saves us about 50 bucks a month. But happy wife happy life. It doesn't bother me too much though. Plus the 40 is only at night as well. It's really not that bad and you get used to it.


By cjohnson2136 on 10/25/2011 3:04:51 PM , Rating: 3
meant wife not wives lol


By MrTeal on 10/25/2011 2:31:33 PM , Rating: 2
Why not? Burst pipes mean you don't even have to go to the faucet to get a glass of water. That's super convenient.


RE: Aren't heaters and AC either on or off?
By callmeroy on 10/25/2011 3:20:51 PM , Rating: 2
Screw that. I'm not a rich by ANY means..trust me...but being comfortable in my own house is one of those things I think "well what the hell do I bust my ass for at work if I can't even be comfortable in my own house..."


By cjohnson2136 on 10/25/2011 3:28:33 PM , Rating: 2
Whats uncomfortable to one could be comfortable to another


More sensors needed - inside and out
By NauticalStrong on 10/25/2011 1:21:30 PM , Rating: 2
For this to work for me it would need to sensors in other rooms since I work from home most some days and travel others. It maximize saving and comfort it would also need to get the weather from the internet or external sensors. The time it takes to cool down a house or heat up a house varies with the external conditions.




RE: More sensors needed - inside and out
By curelom on 10/25/2011 1:25:33 PM , Rating: 2
It get's weather information from your zip code and accessing the weather through wireless internet.


RE: More sensors needed - inside and out
By DT_Reader on 10/25/2011 2:37:01 PM , Rating: 2
Where does it say THAT in the article?


By sprockkets on 10/26/2011 12:57:53 AM , Rating: 2
You can always go to nest.com and find out ya know.


By curelom on 10/26/2011 10:45:17 AM , Rating: 2
It's on the nest website.


RE: More sensors needed - inside and out
By Schrag4 on 10/25/2011 1:39:00 PM , Rating: 3
I've always thought that a nice addition to a heating and cooling system would be a feature that would pump in warm or cool air from outside if the temp changed enough. For instance, if the high was 85 today and you were trying to keep it 72 in your house, it would be nice if at, say, 9:00 PM when the temp dipped below 70 that it would stop using the AC and simply pump in cool air from outside if it was still too warm in the house. Same in the winter if it was 30 degrees overnight but it climbed to 75 at noon then stop heating and pump in warm air from outside.

It would also be nice if it knew about seasons too. In the summer when it's 112F outside, nobody in their right mind would turn down a chance to get the temp down to 60F in their house, so if for some reason (say a storm or something) the temp drops that low at night, by all means, pump that air in. But in the winter, don't let it get that cold. Similarly, in the winter, I wouldn't mind it getting up to 80 in my house if I'm used to trying to stay warm when it's only 30 or 40 outside. Letting it get warmer or cooler would also save on energy, as the heater or AC wouldn't have to kick in as early one the temp returns to "normal" for the season.

Of course such a system would be significantly more expensive than this 250 thermostat, but it would relieve us from the duty to monitor the outside temp and open/close windows (and turn the thermostat on/off) accordingly.


By sprockkets on 10/25/2011 9:03:38 PM , Rating: 2
Most commercial systems do this, and I believe the Honeywell IAQ does this for residential, though it is very difficult to setup for the average person (and not available from the usual places), and requires either a damper from the outside and/or a dehumid system with fresh air intake.


How does it detect
By curelom on 10/25/2011 12:57:10 PM , Rating: 2
How does it detect if you are home or not? It can sense anything moving in the room, but what if the thermastat is in a room or hallway that isn't frequently used? Do you need a thermastat in each room?




RE: How does it detect
By Netscorer on 10/25/2011 1:11:23 PM , Rating: 2
Potentially, yes. At least a thermostat in each zone and ability to communicate with each other. This way your entire house can act as one united zone that is triggered by human's presence. Let's say you leave your house for work every day at 8am but your stay at home wife likes the house to be warm, so the thermostat keeps the house nice and toasty. But your wife may go shopping for couple of hours or go to gym or run any other errands. No need to keep house as warm when no one is at home. In the future your house will be constantly aware of your whereabouts and be able to adjust accordingly.


RE: How does it detect
By curelom on 10/25/2011 1:24:06 PM , Rating: 2
That's too bad. The technology in the thermostat itself looks exciting, but I suppose you have to deal with the early adopter pricing, possibly needing 3 or 4 for an average house. $1000.
I'll wait for some knock-offs to come to market and get those.


RE: How does it detect
By Natch on 10/26/2011 8:35:17 AM , Rating: 2
So we need not just one grossly overpriced unit, but 3 or 4 of them? Yeah, okay.....hope no one's holding their breath for that to happen!

quote:
Nest also has two types of proximity sensors. One sensor activates the screen as you near it, which saves internal battery power when you're not directly in front of it. The other identifies your occasional presence in the room, which allows it to detect when you're at home or away. It will automatically adjust its settings when you're away to save energy.


When I read that, I immediately considered the "vegging on the couch, watching movies all day" situation, where you're not walking past the thermostat for a while.....until you suddenly realize you're having to wrap up with a blanket, because the genius technology has dropped the temperature in the house 10 degrees, because it "knows" you're not home!

Thanks, but no thanks.


The problem is not the thermostat..
By imaheadcase on 10/25/2011 1:28:42 PM , Rating: 3
Its the layout of peoples houses. The reason people constantly adjust them is because its located in the hallway of most houses. No one lives in the hallway.. So they have to constantly change it based on room they are moving to.

The ideal setup is independent heating/cooling of rooms with thermostats in each room.




By DT_Reader on 10/25/2011 2:39:40 PM , Rating: 2
You are correct, but that would require a major re-do of your entire HVAC system, at a cost way above $250. And you could still make do with a $20 thermostat in each room.


Marketing
By JimboK29 on 10/25/2011 4:23:29 PM , Rating: 2
The high price is because Apple made it. People will buy it because it is 'elegant', 'cool', and 'you don't have to be an engineer to use it'.

Leave it to Apple to take a product with two mechanical contacts on a microprocessor to market it into oblivion. Maybe they'll call it the iComfy too.




RE: Marketing
By DougF on 10/25/2011 5:08:10 PM , Rating: 2
RTFS...EX-Apple and EX-Google engineers...neither Apple nor Google have anything to do with this product.

But you are correct in that people WILL buy things if they are "elegant", "cool", and "you don't have to be an engineer to use it". In fact, those three atributes alone would probably push any product to the top of it's market.

So, you have a choice. Cater to a subset of humans called Geeks who LIKE to spend most of their time engaged in tinkering with hardware and software to make something run exactly as they wish it to, and make SOME money; or cater to everyone else by making something elegant, cool, and easy to use, and make LOTS of money...your choice.


cRACKHEADED
By Shadowmaster625 on 10/25/2011 2:42:32 PM , Rating: 2
Dont be stupid. There is no way a thermostat could possibly be worth $250, unless it cooked breakfast for me too. Even if you save $1 a week it will still take 5 years to make up the cost. By then you will be suckered into buying the $400 thermostat that has a build in iPoop app.




By undummy on 10/25/2011 3:18:45 PM , Rating: 2
If they call it an iThermostat, it'll be worth every penny!
How about iNotsochilly?

It was designed by engineers that were fired from or quit Apple or Google. Hmmm, what does that mean?

I've got a pretty good thermostat. It sits at 65 degrees all winter long. If its too cool, I wear a sweatshirt or sweater. If its too warm, I don't. Save me a ton of money without purchasing an overpriced made in ?? gimmick iStatDroid.

I'm so smug. I'm getting one for each room. I'll sit, miles away, on my iJokeofAfone or imaxiPad surfing the iWeb while remotely chilling the room that the wifey is in. Muahahahahaha




hmm, what if you have a pet?
By mackx on 10/25/2011 3:26:09 PM , Rating: 2
i mean, it learns your patterns but if you have a dog then it'll sense movement in the house or whatever right? either that, or you come home to a dog/cat icicle during the winter months




its still a dumb thermostat...
By mehran on 10/25/2011 4:36:39 PM , Rating: 2
Sadly it’s still an on/off thermostat, its last century technology. For example I have a programmable room thermostat that has a two-way communication protocol called OpenTherm. It directly controls the flow temperature, power output and pump of my boiler. Can even combine the outside temperature with the inside temperature to make controls strategies.

Yes this nest thing looks nice but it has very few new ideas. It reminds me of thermostat called "icy : the clever thermostat"

http://www.icy.nl/en/node/671

the thermostat I have is call an remeha iSense(yes sadly they had to go with the I fad...)

In some ways the USA is in the dark ages of heating technology.




Nest
By Iketh on 10/25/2011 8:19:55 PM , Rating: 2
The name made me think of the horrid Transformers trilogy, so I'm immediately turned off.




Power Bill
By mrwassman on 10/25/2011 10:43:43 PM , Rating: 2
Who needs a thermostat...




Silly users
By mike8675309 on 10/26/2011 7:51:06 PM , Rating: 2
Can the thermostat can explain to the fools like my wife who truly believe that if the current temp is 80f, and the thermostat is set to 75f, all you need to do is set the thermostat to 65f to really get it cooler? These people have no concept of what a thermostat does and as far as they are concerned it is magic.

Until you can get them to recognize what is going on, I don't see how this thermostat will do anything for you other than cost way too much money.




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