Sure, the connected home offers security, convenience, and peace of mind, but it also represents a way to make our living spaces more responsive to our individual needs and provides moments of delight. The products outlined here, from smart baby monitors to sleek sound systems, make our homes work better for us. Congratulations to the finalists and thanks to judges Hiroshi Ishii, professor at the MIT Media Lab, and Ben Kaufman, founder of quirky, for helping us think through the next wave of domestic intelligence. Finally, a sincere thank you to everyone who entered and supported Fast Company’s commitment to elevating the design profession.
If you’re looking for more inspiring work, don’t forget to check out the finalists in our other categories: Winners, 3D-Printing, City Solutions, Data Viz, Experience, Experimental, Fashion, Graphic Design, Health, Mobile Apps, Product Design, Smart Home, Social Good, Students, Web Design.
Creators: Gadi Amit, Susan McKinney, Jacqui Belleau, Nick Stauber, Reid Evans, Helen Shaffer, Sproutling Team
Caring for infants is fraught with worry. Ensuring that they’re in a safe position while sleeping, that they’re not running too hot or too cold, and resting for the right amount of time factors into overall wellness but can be nerve-wracking to track. Enter Sproutling, a wearable that monitors your baby’s temperature, heart rate, motion, position, and environment. NewDealDesign packed the technology into a gender-neutral form and tailored the UI so it’s easy to use and understand.
Creators: Gadi Amit, Jacqui Belleau, Dan Clifton, Matt Pugmire, Reid Evans, Beep Team
Just as you prefer a particular music genre, you have likely prefer a certain music player and there’s no reason to toss out your vintage Braun receiver or buy a whole new system just so you can stream your tunes. Beep solves that challenge elegantly. It’s a sleek metal knob that connects to your home WiFi and transforms any speaker into a conduit for Spotify or Pandora, no app or login required.
Home owners have the wherewithal to wire their homes with smart gadgets. Renters, however, have few choices: traditional companies require a lengthy contract and most systems require complex installation. Canary, a spy cam for your house, meets those challenges by providing humidity, temperature, and motion sensors in a simple, self-contained product. From your smartphone, you can access real-time footage and information, or set automatic alerts.
Creators: Yves Behar, Jason Aramburu, Liam Adelman, Michelle Dawson, Brett Middleton, Christina Park, Noah Polsky
For would-be green thumbs, the pain of losing a bed of plants is tough to bear. While experts might be able to intuit just the right level of water and sun to make a plant thrive, the rest of us are stuck in the dark. The Edyn gardening sensor communicates factors affecting your plants, like soil moisture levels, temperature and UVs.
Creators: Robert Brunner, Matt Rolandson, Victoria Slaker, Steve Lee, Darcy DiNucci
Leeo turns conventional smoke detectors into internet-connected smart devices—thus providing upgraded capabilities without requiring an expensive home overhaul. First, it plugs into any outlet. Then, using sound, it monitors a home’s existing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and alerts users when they go off. If you don’t respond, Leeo automatically calls your emergency contacts so someone else can address the problem.
Creators: Ryan Fant, Nayeem Hussain, Will McLeod
Firm: Tomorrow Lab
Client: Keen Home
Heating and cooling consumes much of the annual energy budget for a home and most systems are wildly inefficient. This home air vent intelligently redirects HVAC flow in your home to optimize comfort and efficiency. It measures temperatures and, via a bridge, talks to the other vents to heat and cool the rooms where it’s needed the most. This way, you’re not chilling an already frosty room when another one is baking in heat.