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January 2014

New Sensor

Detects Environmental Hazards in Homes

By NWREporter

January 2014

Wally HomeIf home hazards are worrisome, a $300 device known as Wally may provide some peace of mind.

When Wally starts arriving in homes in spring 2014, homeowners can expect to be alerted of water leaks or other problems needing fixing before they become major expenses or hassles. The revolutionary monitoring system is the latest innovation from SNUPI, a startup by Seattle-based entrepreneur Jeremy Jaech, who is the CEO at SNUPI (Sensor Network Using Powerline Infrastructure).

Officially known as WallyHome, the ultra-low power sensor network monitors moisture, temperature and humidity changes and works in conjunction with an always-on Internet connection. It does this by bypassing traditional Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections, instead using the copper wiring in the walls of a home as an antenna.

The product's creators say by using the existing powerline infrastructure as its wireless communication channel the system is designed to work continuously for 10 years without replacing the battery. The unit is available to consumers for a pre-order price of $299, plus $35 for additional sensors.

Jaech, who co-founded Aldus and Visio, said Wally's sensors are placed with appliances or in hazard-prone spaces, and paired with a hub. This hub creates a smart home platform that uses machine learning analytics and data mining to provide homeowners (no matter where they may be located), as well as people on their alert list, information about the health of their home via the Wally app and website, he explained.

"Homeowners are alerted instantly via text, push or email of water leak locations or potential hazards, such as conditions for mold," he added. The system also offers preventative maintenance tips.

Jaech, a member of the University of Washington board of regents, said his company has partnered with professors and a doctoral student at the UW and is operating with an exclusive license from the Georgia Institute of Technology and the UW.