Connected Objects
Bixi relies on gestures, lets you nix standard remote control

editors-choice-300x96The main problem with controlling music and GPS navigation in one’s car through traditional remote control devices is that it can be a dangerous distraction.

Bixi is a smart home and mobile device that allows users to control connected objects via simple hand gestures. The small smart controller can be placed on top of any surface in the home or car, or mounted just about anywhere as well. Bixi connects via Bluetooth Low Energy to smartphones, tablets and computers. The device is based around next-generation time-of-flight optical sensors, and works well in complete darkness.

Using the companion Bixi app for Android and iOS mobile devices, users can configure devices they want to control. Each gesture matches a specific command on the connected device. As examples, once configured, users can swipe right to call home or wave down to play or pause music.

Bixi ships in March at future pricing of about $118. But Kickstarter backers have been able to order one for a pledge starting at $59 for early birds. Its makers are out to raise $25,000 by Dec. 3.

There have been several similar smart controllers before this, including Fibaro. But Bixi’s design offers some advantages over at least some rival products, including its ability to be used in multiple locations in or out of the home. Using it outside the home, however, carries a small extra cost as its makers are selling a bike mount for an additional $20 and a magnetic car dashboard mount for an additional $5. Another potential negative, especially if one plans to use it with a bike, is that its makers say Bixi is “splashproof,” but not waterproof.

Jeff Berman is a Long Island-based freelance reporter, who has also contributed stories to publications including TheStreet and the consumer electronics magazines Dealerscope and TWICE. He previously worked as a senior editor and deputy managing editor of the trade newsletter Consumer Electronics Daily, published by Warren Communications News.