Sen.se, a pioneering and rather intellectual French company I love, has been working for years to come up with the formula for user-friendly internet-of-things gadgetry for the home. In 2005, it launched Nabaztag/tag, an internet-connected plastic rabbit that was so unfathomable it made Jacques Derrida look like Enid Blyton. Then, in 2014, there was Mother, a simpler but no less arcane €290 semi-humanoid computer, still available, that connects to as many as 24 colourful motion- and temperature-sensing “cookies” – biscuit-shaped objects – around the house.
Now Sen.se has done something suitably sensible, selling the cookies sans Mother but using a smartphone as the interface. And with the cookies renamed SensePeanuts, I think it’s hit the right note. First out of the shell is ThermoPeanut, a ridiculously simple wireless thermometer: place it anywhere (kennel, nursery, greenhouse) up to 60m from your iPhone or Android and it will tell you the temperature, and provide alerts if it goes too low or high. The battery lasts six months and is easily replaceable. Coming soon: the SleepPeanut monitor and alarm, MedPeanut to remind you to take medication, and PeanutButton to turn on electrical devices such as lights remotely.