Window blinds are an excellent candidate for smart-home automation. By automatically varying the amount of sunlight that passes through, they can improve comfort, ensure privacy, and reduce power consumption from lighting, heating or cooling a home. There are several products on the market already to upgrade old window blinds, but they only work with the kind that raises and lowers on a chain.FlipFlic, which launched a crowdfunding campaign yesterday, tackles a different niche: slatted blinds that can be adjusted with a tilt rod.
FlipFlic is a small white block housing a motor that attaches to the twisting mechanism that adjusts the angle of your blinds. It comes with a solar panel that sticks to the window and provides constant power via a USB cord (without the panel, FlipFlic’s battery would need to be recharged about once a month).
The device connects to your smartphone or tablet over Bluetooth, and the app lets you opt for manual, scheduled or automatic control — or a combination of all three. In automatic mode, FlipFlic uses data from built-in temperature and ambient light sensors to adjust the blinds dynamically and keep the room at the temperature and light levels you’ve set as targets in the app. With scheduling it can switch between automatic and preset angles at certain times of day, and you always have the option for a manual override.
The motor is fairly quiet at a maximum of 55 dB, and FlipFlic’s designers plan to make it even quieter by switching from a metal gearbox to a plastic one before full production. When it comes to energy savings, they estimate that their product can reduce a building’s utility bill 6 to 18 percent. By keeping the blinds adjusted to maximize light or minimize heating, it essentially delays the need to turn on a lamp in the evening or let the air conditioning kick in.
FlipFlic will be available in two models to fit either vertical or horizontal blinds. The Kickstarter campaign runs through May 13, and the first units are expected to ship in January 2017. Learn more in the video below.