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Plugged In

Posted November 17, 2005
Plug a lamp into an INSTEON module—a little white box that’s not much larger than a pack of cigarettes and plugs into any three-prong outlet—and now you can turn that lamp on or off or dim it from across the room with the tabletop INSTEON controller. The new INSTEON system works with appliances, too, and it’s expandable. (Stick the INSTEON controller by your front door, and it’s an instant energy conservation system that lets you turn off all your INSTEON-linked lamps and appliances at once before leaving for the day.) The “home automation” market has been a dorktronic niche for years, but this system is so nicely designed and so easy to use (it takes just minutes to set up) that I predict that all sorts of normal people (i.e., non-geeks whose hearts don’t race when they walk past a Radio Shack) will be turning into control freaks too.

$100 for starter kit (tabletop controller, four modules) at

Buy it online