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TUAW - "It's an elegant solution to a simple problem most of us face."
Take control of your world.
It’s as easy as downloading an app.
Elphi is the first
smart plug built for the 21st century. With it you can monitor, control and even
share devices with your friends from anywhere in the world. Simply plug your devices into the Elphi plug and connect them to the Elphi cloud with our free app. Our streamlined setup process usually takes less than sixty seconds. We've designed our system to work with your existing WiFi network so you don't have to buy any additional hardware.
ELPHI GOES EVERYWHERE
The Elphi smart plug can be used to monitor and control all of
the things you plug into the wall. We
have been using it to turn on the espresso machine on the way back from work,
for turning on heaters and lights, and to check whether my grandmother is ok by looking at her power usage over time. How will you use it? Elphi is limited only by your imagination.
How does it work?
The Elphi plug and app communicate via a cloud service in real time. The plug
uses a dual core Wi-Fi chip to connect to local Wi-Fi networks and is
designed to minimize vampire power usage by backing off the relay switch’s coil
current via pulse width modulation. The plug’s firmware is also being designed to allow for updates as
our system improves and evolves.
The app talks to our API and receives push
notifications for events such as turning on the plug with the
physical button or your friend turning on your lights from his or her phone. We plan to open up the API to users and developers in the near future.
The Elphi cloud is a secure, reliable service that ties together phone apps with the physical devices you use in your everyday life. We have built it to handle the constantly fluctuating loads associated with even the most demanding smartphone-driven lifestyle.
The Elphi smart plug is compatible with iPhones running iOS 5.1 and will be compatible with Android shortly.
- iPhone 3GS, 4, 4S running
- Android devices running 2.3 and higher
- WiFi type 802.11b (also works with b/g/n networks)
- Standard 3 pronged U.S. plug (safely powers anything you plug into your wall socket- up to 15amps, or ~1875 watts)
Our goal is to transform the devices you use into a
seamless, virtual extension of yourself, and we are building the tools to make
this a reality. Currently with the Elphi
system, you can:
- Monitor loved ones (elderly or latchkey kids) by looking at the power use patterns on their devices.
Instantly turn on and off any device from anywhere via smartphone - from your couch or from across the world
Use the button as a manual override if a smart phone is not present
- Set timers just like you set your alarm clock on your phone - set your coffee machine to turn on every morning
- Location awareness - your phone can notify you or control devices based on your location (i.e. curling iron turns off when you leave the house)
- Measure the power usage of any device, and monitor it over time
- Plug two Elphi plugs into a single outlet with our space efficient design!
- Update Elphi plug firmware from your phone
- Synchronize state changes across multiple users’ phones
- Automatically turns off if device plugged into Elphi plug is drawing too much power
Where we’re at
We’ve been working for almost a year to integrate our
cloud service with our custom firmware, hardware and phone apps. The Elphi system you see in the video and pictures is a real, working prototype that we’ve been using since the beginning of this
year. Our final prototype was built with a 3d printer, hand sanded and painted with glossy paint.
We want to bring Elphi to your home. Your contribution will fund:
- Production tooling for injection molds, plug prongs
- FCC, UL regulatory approvals
- High volume parts pricing
We have a contract manufacturer lined up, and are ready to go! Once we know how many Elphi plugs to produce, we will move forward to create the custom tooling to produce our enclosures, boards and metal prongs. After the constituent parts of the Elphi plug are finished, we will be free to start final assembly and ship to you! We estimate we will be able to ship in October. We'll keep you in the loop with updates!
Each Elphi plug has a glossy plastic exterior with an LED back lit button. The form factor is small enough to fit two in a standard U.S. wall outlet. We are also offering an early adopter t-shirt, an exclusive invite to our launch party, and of course, the the Elphi plug itself.
Q: How do I set up the Elphi? A: Download the Elphi
App. Plug in the Elphi plug, which in unconfigured state emits its own wifi network. Press the ‘+’ add button to add another
device on the app. If you have an
iPhone, switch to the “Elphi” WiFi network, and return to the Elphi App. Enter a name, and location for your new
device. Enter your WiFi network name,
type in your password, and you are done.
Q: What kind of WiFi does Elphi use? A: Elphi operates on type 802.11b, but will
work with any backwards compatible WiFi router (b/g/n).
Q: What additional hardware do I need to make Elphi
work? A: None
Q: Does Elphi work with Android? A: Yes
Q: What is the lifespan of the Elphi? A: Roughly 100k use cycles; in normal use cases at least 3 years.
Q: What known issues exist? A: The Elphi system is only as
reliable as your WiFi network. It is
vital to have a good wifi router with a good internet connection. Additionally, the Elphi plug is unable to do web authentication; if your WiFi network uses a website to authenticate, the plug will not be able to connect.
Q: Do I have to pay a subscription fee for the service? A: No.
Q: Is the Elphi Smart plug available overseas? A: Not currently. There are many obstacles and costs associated with launching a power electronic device in many countries- different tooling for each plug shape, regulatory approvals, legal issues, potential IP threats and servers in the same geographic area to provide low latency. Long term we absolutely want to make our system available to users everywhere, and we will announce when we make it available more widely- email us at email@example.com to get on the international announcement mailing list.
Q: Do I need to have a static IP address or forward a port on my router like with other home automation systems? A: No! Our goal from the start was to automate as much as possible and avoid having a 30-step installation process.