Smart outlets have been around for a bit. And, by smart, we mean you can control them from an app, as well as turn power on and off automatically based on a variety of variables. The Swidget, however, makes the smart outlet more versatile by adding a modular socket that can be used to add a variety of functions to the erstwhile wall outlet.
Designed to integrate into your home’s existing wiring, the connected device can be installed like, pretty much, any wall outlet. Without any inserts plugged in, the darn thing actually works like any dumb outlet, which simply takes in power plugs but cannot be controlled remotely.
What makes Swidget different, of course, is the socket between the two power outlets, where you can plug in any of the company’s modular inserts, each of which automatically draws power from the outlet while coming with its own wireless connection. The idea is to simply use the outlet as the platform for a variety of smart home tools, saving you from having to collect an entire table full of standalone gadgets around the house. We don’t know if each outlet includes a dummy insert, but we hope it does because we definitely don’t want anything with exposed electricals (and we’re guessing there are some here) to be easily accessible to children and pets.
As of now, they have prototype inserts for wireless control, a USB charging port, a nightlight, an emergency light, a motion sensor, and a combined motion sensor/wireless control. All of those, other than the wireless control, should be pretty familiar to most people exposed to smart home devices. If you’re curious about wireless control, by the way, it’s basically a Wi-Fi insert that allows the outlet to be accessed from a companion app, giving you the ability to remotely switch power off the game console when you want your kids to stop playing.
Aside from asserting your authoritarian rule of the house, Swidget’s wireless control insert also allows you to monitor individual outlets, as it can record a log of power use, so you can see which appliances are putting a drain on your electric bill. You can also set timers and schedules for each outlet, so you can fully control the power use around the house if that’s your thing. The wireless control, by the way, will be compatible with IFTTT, Nest, Alexa, Google Home, and Stringify.
Other inserts on the pipe include a speaker, IR control, aromatherapy (seriously, scents coming from your outlet), cameras, a carbon monoxide sensor, a temperature sensor, and a Wi-Fi booster. Do note, all the inserts are still under development, so there’s a good chance only a few of them will actually make it to final product form. And, yes, they’re offering a dev kit for outfits interested in developing their own inserts for the platform.
A Kickstarter campaign is currently running for Swidget. You can reserve a unit (one outlet plus a wireless control insert) for pledges starting at $38.