Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo are teeming with products that claim to be the smartest this and the smartest that. The Balcony Pets Apartment Pet Door, which recently hit the crowdfunding platform with a $22,000 funding goal, is not one of them.
It has no Wi-Fi or Bluetooth; no Z-Wave or Thread support; no IFTTT channel or Works with Nest certification; and no API (application program interface) or SDK (software development kit). But it has the one thing that the some so-called "smart" products lack: actual utility. Well, that is if you are a pet owner living in a rented home or apartment with a sliding glass door. (As many as 72 percent of the over 100 million American renters have pets, per one estimate; unfortunately, we don't have the numbers on the subset that has sliding doors.)
According to the Kickstarter page, this invention is a low-cost alternative to existing pet-door solutions that are expensive, difficult-to-handle panels requiring special tools, expertise, and/or significant modifications to the home's structure.
"Three lightweight, clear polycarbonate panels snap together easily without tools and fit into the tracks of the sliding glass door. Rubber gaskets grab the inner tracks of the sliding glass door for a secure fit," the Kickstarter page reads, adding that the modular door's adjustable fastening system allows it to work with sliding doors of various heights.
The $150 Balcony Pets door is available for $99 to "Early Birds" on Kickstarter, with shipping estimated to begin in June, 2015. But if you live outside the U.S. or Canada, you're out of luck as these are the only countries it will ship to.
Why this matters: What's there not to like about an affordable, easy-to-use product with real utility even if it's low-tech or, as is the case here, no-tech?
It may not work with your smart thermostat, but the 15-by-9-inch Balcony Pets door can apparently deliver energy savings like one: "Lower your heating & air conditioning bills! Leaving the sliding glass door open really affects the amount you pay for heating and air conditioning. Using this pet door saves you money and benefits the environment too!"
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