Yes, you can now buy blinds that have an integrated motor, allowing you to automate just how much natural light you allow inside the house at any time. When you already have blinds for every window in your home, though, do you really want to replace them with an entirely new set? If you don’t, then the Axis Gear might offer a more interesting alternative.
Billed as “the easiest and best way to automate your existing window blinds, shades and curtains,” it turns your erstwhile manual window shades into a motorized one that you can integrate with your smart home setup. Just install a motor on each blind, configure them on the app, and you’re set – your blinds are now controlled by robots and will turn against you the day the machine uprising commences. Yeah, my life is dark, man.
The Axis Gear is a small box measuring 6.5 x 1.8 x 1.5 inches (height x width x depth), making it easy to integrate into your window screens, whether you’re using curtains, blinds, or any other type of shade, provided it uses a cord loop or a beaded chain to operate. To install, simply remove the top cover of the device, secure the blind’s cord loop to the exposed gear, and place the cover back on. Once that’s done, your motorized blinds are in place and ready to use.
Touch strip controls in the front of the box allow you to operate the blinds while standing next to the window, although it also comes with a smartphone app that you can use to manage multiple motorized blinds from one interface. That means, you can adjust any blinds around the house without having to get up from wherever you are, whether you’re lying in the bed, snacking on the couch, or soaking in the bathtub. Even better, you can have the blinds automatically adjust based on a set schedule, all of which you can easily set from the companion app, allowing you to get your bedroom blinds to open every morning, so you can wake up to plenty of natural light.
The Axis Gear can lift any blinds, shades, or curtains that measure up to 9 x 9 feet (width x height), so it should even handle some of those large vertical blinds you see used in offices. Do note that vertical blinds will require two of these to fully automate, since they use two cord loops instead of one (one for opening/closing and one for tilting), requiring you to motorize each one individually.
An integrated rechargeable battery should keep it running without being plugged, while an included solar panel allows you to keep it charged at all times (might as well take advantage of all the light in the window). Alternatively, it also takes AA batteries as a backup option. It’s compatible, by the way, with all ZigBee smart hubs, so it can be easily integrated into your smart home setup, provided, of course, you’re invested in the ZigBee ecosystem.