Hayo is a 3D Smart Home ControllerBy - 01/15/2017
What is Hayo?
Hayo is touting itself as, “augmented reality for the connected home.” What it does is allow you to turn your living space into a virtual remote control. Where devices like Oomi rely on gesture, Hayo uses both physical and contextual intelligence.
It all starts with a scan of your room. Using Hayo’s 3D camera, a map is created of your physical space and the objects within the space. For example, let’s say you scan your kitchen. After scanning, Hayo will recognize the walls that surround your kitchen, your oven, your microwave, and any other objects within the space. Using the mobile app, you can turn those objects into virtual smart buttons. For example, tapping your lamp could theoretically turn it on or swiping your oven could crank down your AC.
Thinking beyond physical space, Hayo has integrated contextual intelligence that allows the device to react more appropriately. For example, let’s say you need to make an early morning restroom run. Hayo will first sense motion and understand that it needs to turn on a light. It can use clues such as the time of day to decide if you need a dim light or if you need something brighter.
Setting Up and Using Controls
In speaking to Hayo co-founder José Alonso Ybanez Zepeda, PhD. aka Alonso, I asked if there was a limit to the number of gestures Hayo could understand. He replied,
It’s not gestures. There are three kinds of buttons. There’s a normal button for on/off. There is a slider for 0%, 500%, and everything in-between. And then there is the barrier.
I think it’s easier to think of the three buttons as touch, swipe, and barrier. Touch (the normal button) turns your physical space into invisible buttons. For example, if you touch something, you can theoretically play or stop music, as seen in the video clip below.
— Hayo (@meethayo) December 5, 2016
The second “button” uses a swipe gesture (the slider). As you swipe up or down, you might choose to adjust the music’s volume. Finally, the barrier. A barrier, for example, is used in the YouTube video above. The parents in the video have placed a barrier around the cookie jar so that their son can’t eat cookies, because apparently they’ve baked them to be used as decorations. While Hayo lacks facial recognition, it is smart enough to decipher between adult and child. Thankfully, mom can eat cookies without an alert, but her kids can’t. Unfortunately, if mom is the size of a child she’s screwed as Hayo deciphers the difference based upon a person’s physical size. According to Kanwal Jehan, a Hayo employee, you train all three button types within the mobile app.
What Does it Work With?
Hayo is promising compatibility out of the gate with Nest, Wink, Hue, WeMo, Sonos, IFTTT, and LIFX. Kanwal also shared that Hayo will directly integrate with laptops, Skype, and even your phone. While some integrations are direct, others will be indirect via IFTTT. As an example, Kanwal suggested connecting Hayo to IFTTT’s SMS channel. If you’re busy cooking, and you get a text, you can set the corner of your oven as a trigger. By gesturing near the corner of your oven, you can send a reply text via IFTTT.
Hayo Device Specifications and Complexities
There are potential complexities involved in using Hayo. For one, Hayo’s range is 15 feet. As open floor plans have gained popularity, 15 feet might not be enough. If you have multiple Hayo’s in one room, which device rules? Will they confuse each other? Though I don’t have all the answers, I was able to confirm with Kanwal that you can use as many Hayos as you want. She also mentioned that when you use multiple Hayos that they all learn from each other. In fact, they are even smart enough to reconfigure if you accidentally move one of the devices thanks to a technology called “automatic repositioning”. According to Kanwal, Hayo remembers your environment even if you move the device.
The device itself includes infrared lighting for low light visibility, a 60° Field of View, and a WiFi connection.
What About Home Security?
Hayo also includes limited home security features. Take the same cookie jar scenario and remove the cookie jar. There’s no reason why you couldn’t say, send an alert if someone opens the liquor cabinet before 3 pm. Or even, send an alert if someone touches the front door. Also, the camera inside Hayo is capable of capturing images. If you setup an alert and the alert is triggered, Hayo can take and send you a picture of the event. Keep in mind that Hayo is a camera, not a video camera. You can also set one of the buttons to arm the system. At CES, Alonso demonstrated turning on security mode by pressing a Hayo button for five seconds.
Will invisible buttons change the home security game? As someone who loses things daily, I’m not convinced that I will be able to remember where I’ve placed my invisible buttons. However, I’m still excited by the concept and excited that the process breaks down barriers and allows all family members, even those without smartphones, to interact with connected devices. In thinking about the device throughout the day, I kept going back to the kitchen. The ability to get my hands dirty without touching things is intriguing to me.
I can also see how using my physical space as a smart home controller might sometimes be faster than other methods, for example, voice. Let’s say I’m playing music, I can ask Alexa to turn the volume down, but it’s not always so simple. Sometimes she doesn’t hear commands over music. And even then, the process still requires a conversation,
Nothing happens. Repeat.
With Hayo, I could wave my hand like a maestro and it should respond. Should being the operative word here. There’s nothing else like Hayo on the market, so I have nothing to compare it to for reference. How quickly will it respond? How accurate will the response be? And will sending certain commands through IFTTT slow down the process even more? It’s likely that it will. The bottom line is that we don’t know; we don’t even know if Hayo will become a reality.
Hayo will launch on Indiegogo in mid-February. According to Alonso, they are confident they can deliver the product in September following a successful run on Indiegogo. Their target retail price is under $300 per device. Considering that most homeowners will need more than one, I’m hoping for a bundle deal to reduce the overall cost. The good news is that Alonso shared they do not have plans for a paid service so once you buy the hardware, you should have access to all Hayo’s features. If you would like to be among the first to pre-order Hayo, you can sign up for pre-order notifications at hayo.io