Crafting a Thermostat for the Digital Age

An Apple vet's startup rethinks the humble temperature controller

Technology has transformed just about every gadget in our lives, from telephones to coffee machines. One device, though, has remained stubbornly stuck in the past: the home thermostat. These wall-mounted units, typically boxy and beige, are ugly, hard to use, and easily forgotten. There are about 160 million in U.S. homes today, and only about 40 percent are programmable, with manually adjustable temperature settings. A recent study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that even among the programmable ones, only 11 percent are used to properly conserve energy.

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