This “SmartMat” Means You May Never Use a Doorbell Again
Categories: Tech

This “SmartMat” Means You May Never Use a Doorbell Again

So you planned a WFH day so you could be around for that super special delivery, but regardless of your prep work, the elusive delivery guy didn’t call and didn’t ring. He left only a “will return” slip. This WTF-moment will never happen again with SmartMat, a WiFi-enabled mat that alerts your smartphone when someone or something is at your door.

The SmartMat doesn’t look like a traditional welcome mat. It’s a thin, flexible sensor made from five heat-sealed layers of plastic film that is designed to sit neatly (and discretely) under your front door floor mat. Since SmartMat is force-sensitive, it’s triggered by weight. So when any friendly, pie-bearing neighbor is standing on the mat, a wifi-enabled micro controller records the spike in pressure and alerts you that you have company in real-time via text, email, or twitter. It can even be programmed to recognize frequent visitors/users so that you can keep an eye on your family’s activities without getting security cameras involved. Now you can be notified of the exact moment when an elderly relative leaves the house, when your dog is ready to come inside, or when your kids actually get home from school.

But the device isn’t just useful at your front door. When it’s paired indoors with its wifi-connected power strip, SmartMat turns into a programmable hands-free trigger for your electronics. Set it inside your entryway to turn the lights on and off with just a single step, or even place it under a couch cushion so that a plop on the sofa powers on your TV and stereo system. It’s about time you gave your smartphone wand a rest anyway.

While the simple sensor system is stealthy, it’s not as refined as we’d like it to be. For one thing, its basic features could definitely be bulked up: SmartMat can’t recognize specific people, only the weights assigned to specific people (or pets!), which are represented by spikes on a bare bones line graph. We’d like to see some sort of personalization technology brought to the party, perhaps WiFi-connected tags for keychains or dog collars that link to user profiles — something smarter to distinguish who is actually coming and going. We’re also begging for an update of its dated webpage interface. How ’bout something more intuitive, more feature-focused, more… like an app? We’d love for these elements incorporated into the design before WE throw down for SmartMat. Though if you’re not a product of hyper-designed, drag-and-drop culture (Dad?), then $75 for an as-is SmartMat seems in line. Maybe bookmark this item for Father’s Day.

Would SmartMat fit in with the rest of your home-related tech? What other devices do you use to monitor your house or family? Tell us in the comments below.