SmartDry’s handy laundry sensor will be installed in the cloud next month

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The SmartDry clothes sensor was widely regarded as a useful smart home device that saved money and time.  When their owners' servers go down at the end of September, users are faced with either a useless device or a remarkable DIY journey.
Enlarge / The SmartDry clothes sensor was widely regarded as a useful smart home device that saved money and time. When their owners’ servers go down at the end of September, users are faced with either a useless device or a remarkable DIY journey.

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smart drying it was a smart home product that did something useful: tell you when the clothes in the dryer were really dry.

A small package mounted inside almost any dryer drum could prevent clothes from shrinking, save you energy costs (at least $60 a year, according to marketing), and even warn you about clogged vents that cause too much heat, or too much heat. worse, gas accumulation. A second-generation version could even turn off your gas dryer automatically. Reviewers much preferred it to the unpredictable dryness sensors in their own dryers.

The problem is that SmartDry alerted you to dry your clothes by connecting to your home Wi-Fi; the device sent a message to the servers of parent company Connected Life and then relayed that message to his smartphone. But Connected Life Labs will shut down, discontinue SmartDry, and shut down its servers on September 30. After that, “cloud services will cease to operate and product applications will no longer be supported.”

In other words, SmartDry will become a small brick inside your dryer unless you’re willing to buy a small ESP32 development board, load code onto it, plug it in near your dryer, and configure your own alerts on your Home Assistant server. If you had a first generation SmartDry it would actually be a slight improvement as those devices used Espressif ESP32 chips with a forever vulnerability.

Smart home devices locked down by cloud shutdowns aren’t new, but SmartDry was a particularly useful discreet device made by a company that didn’t seem to be expanding too quickly. Connected Living was originally a three-person team prototyping units in New Jerseyand the device remained made in the US. A co-founder told Reviewed in late 2021 that a version for the washing machine was being tested and was expected to launch in the summer of 2022.

Lisa Goldstein, who is deaf, wrote for Reviewed in December 2021, SmartDry saved him multiple trips to and from the basement as he had no other sign that his clothes were ready. Wirecutter’s Rachel Cericola wrote a blog post about how SmartDry “Transformed how I do laundry.” Josh Hendrickson at ReviewGeek wrote that SmartDry routinely alerted him to dry clothes 10 to 15 minutes before the timer ran out. “Nearly every time, the sensor was right,” she wrote.

The second generation SmartDry kit included a plug that could automatically turn off gas dryers.
Enlarge / The second generation SmartDry kit included a plug that could automatically turn off gas dryers.

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Cloud server dependency is a recurring issue with smart home devices. smart home company Insteon appeared to vanish without warning in April. insteon later blamed the pandemic and supply chain shortages. In June, a group of dedicated customers bought Insteon and revived their services. Most of the time, outages are more routine, like when a service goes out. after an acquisitionor a large company lose interest in your smart home experiment.

projects like home assistant, HomeSeerY hubitat they aim to provide locally managed backups for these failed projects, but are often driven by volunteers who gather in forums or repositories, track packages, and work with esoteric hardware.

A stronger solution for failing companies might be the Matter interoperability standard and the Thread mesh networking technology behind it, will arrive sometime in the fall of 2022. Instead of relying on individual Wi-Fi connections, a smart device could connect to the network created by other nearby smart devices and, in theory, be more accessible to other hubs and apps.

We have attempted to contact Connected Life Labs and will update this post if we receive feedback.

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