What's the Latest Development?

A new easy-to-use smart thermostat could save your house a lot of energy, meaning a smaller bill at the end of the month. Former iPod chief Tony Fadell has designed a thermostat that learns from your behaviors rather than requiring you to program it. Several smart thermostats are already on the market but their user interface has not proven friendly. "In fact, Energy Star revoked its certification of all smart thermostats in 2009 when it became apparent that people weren’t using their features properly."

What's the Big Idea?

Fadell's thermostat, called the Nest, bypasses programming by using high-end technology like algorithms, machine learning, and cloud computing to adapt to the user's daily routine. The learning process lasts about a week, claim's the Nest website. The device connects to your home's Wi-Fi and "can be controlled with a laptop, smartphone or tablet, allowing on-the-go users to change the temperature, adjust a schedule, and frequently check energy usage."