tado The Cooling App

Client:

tado°

Year:

2013/2014

Team:

Robert van den Born

Shumeng Chang
Job Felser
Danny Houwing
Brian Khouw
Maciej Szaniawski

Summary:

The Cooling App offers a cool lightweight product that makes your old aircondition unit a modern automated system that (energy-) efficiently provides the perfect temperature for you at home. 

For the Joint Master Project at the TU Delft, Team Okae was requested by German start-up company tado° GmbH to develop a new product to expand their product portfolio. tado°’s main product at that time was ‘The Heating App’, a system that gives users automated and intelligent control over their heating system based on the users physical location. The Heating App offers people the benefit of a carefree and energy saving system without sacrificing comfort.
In this project a new product proposal was designed that offers a similar approach for single unit air conditioning systems with an Infrared Remote control, a machine that is often regarded as crude, highly power consuming, and even slightly hazardous due to improper control. Proper control over air conditioners is key to providing a comfortable, healthy, and energy efficient environment at home. The Cooling App therefore offers a cool lightweight (plug + play) product that makes your AC a modern automated system that (energy-) efficiently provides the perfect temperature for you at home. 

My role
In this project I was mainly responsible for all the technical aspects of the hardware and software related to the product, including the technical prototype, and was a core part of the team responsible for the physical design.

Users can control the temperature in their house, and even in individual rooms, just by walking around. The system tracks users using motion sensors and Bluetooth Low Energy based proximity measurements and uses pattern recognition to learn about and predict user behaviour. Using this data the Climate App will create the optimal climate wherever and whenever it is needed by adjusting the AC settings using Infrared Control. 

When the owner of tado° The Cooling App, approaches home, the AC will pre-cool their house. In this way they will arrive in perfect comfort, without the disadvantage of using too much energy. The system will know their location and their patterns so that it can control the temperature according to their next steps and known preferences. They never have to turn the AC on or off again, because the system will automatically cool only the rooms they use. And when they leave the house, tado° will stop cooling by itself. 

Physical Design

The physical design challenge was to create a visual identity reflecting the products purpose, perform well in practical aspects, and fit in a young/modern/hip/urban/eclectic household.


We used the flow of air and the coolness of the color blue as inspiration in our design iterations, and were constrained by the inclusion of an infrared sensor and emitter window and an air intake for the temperature sensor.

Prototype

A working electronic prototype of the envisioned technology was created and programmed to test the technical feasibility of BLE based proximity and Infrared control. The prototype closely mimicked the designed system regarding the network setup and includes both hardware setup and app development. With this prototype we could convincingly demonstrate to stakeholders the principle of using infrared to control an air conditioning unit based on the proximity of a smartphone running the test application.

Result after further development by tado°

After our proposal was delivered tado has continued working on the project, teasing it with a booth at CES 2014 in Las Vegas, a successful Kickstarter campaign, and is currently available on the market (www.tado.com).