The future is slowly becoming something out of a Ray Bradbury story, as houses and everything in them get more interconnected. Devices become “smart,” able to foresee your needs and accommodate them before you even knew you needed a thing. But it’s not all self-driving Google cars and iPad-ready smoke detectors. New to the fray? A big ass ceiling fan that takes care of your room for you… whether you tell it to do so or not.
The description is literal; the company is, in fact, called Big Ass Fans. And, as GigaOm reports, their new home product is, well, basically a robot.
Robots, GigaOm explains, are devices that can make autonomous decisions. So a homeowner setting a thermostat to cool the house to 74 degrees at 8 a.m. is just telling a program to run, but a cooling system that, unprompted, analyzes the time of day, sunlight, indoor and outdoor temperatures, and decides to set the house to 74 degrees is robotic.
That’s what the Big Ass fans are supposed to do. As you use it more and more, it “learns” what you like and then starts pre-emptively acting accordingly. Do you tend to get cold and turn the fans off at a certain temperature or time of day? In theory, this fan will start doing that for you.
Company CEO Carey Smith told GigaOm that sure, a user can use the related app and “teach” the fan to do certain things. But, Smith added, that’s not really what it’s about — nor, he thinks, what people really want.
“We don’t think in general you want to play around with apps,” Smith told GigaOm. “And we think that 100 years from now people will think it’s amusing that you even ever thought about these things. It’s a waste of personal energy to have to think about that.”
Of course, robot brains aren’t cheap. A standard home ceiling fan tends to run somewhere in the $35 – $300 range. So how does the Big Ass fan compare?
At launch, the lineup of robot fans will start at $895, Smith told GigaOm. Ouch. The future where our rooms will predictively self-cool may be coming, but given the price tag, most folks will probably choose to take a few seconds to flick a switch for some years yet.