Smarthome’s product portfolio is so extensive that it’s easy to overlook a nice new product when it comes around. Therefore I would like to share with you this simple but nevertheless interesting new product I’ve recently discovered. It’s called USB2 Insteon USB Controller by Minotaur Engineering (who are these guys anyway?)
You wonder what this new device could do for you? Let’s see what the user’s manual has to say…
The INSTEON USB Controller provides a way to automatically send Insteon “On” and “Off” signals to other enabled devices whenever a computer is turned on or hard re-booted. It contains the required electrical interfaces to a standard Insteon I/O Linc device (purchased separately) and draws its required power from the computer’s USB connection.
Once installed and linked, the USB connector can be left plugged in to the PC. The controlled devices will be turned on only when the computer is turned on, and shut off when the computer is turned off. In the event you wish opposite sensing, press the I/O Linc Set button until it beeps before inserting the USB connector in to the powered computer. This will trigger the “ON” command whenever the computer is turned OFF.
These days USB ports are ubiquitous, so I think the use of this product might be extended far beyond computers, to any other USB-enabled devices, like TVs, DVRs, network storage devices, even the photo frames.
Here’s a couple of sample usage scenarios…
1) You really wouldn’t want to miss recording that new episode of your favorite series, would you? Now, with INSTEON USB Controller you can trigger an email or SMS alert whenever your HTPC or DVR shuts off after the brownout or by the virtue of the curious fingers of your three-year-old kid.
2) This USB interface could be used as a security device like those you see on the shelves of Best Buy stores. Whenever computer gets powered off or USB cable gets unplugged you could trigger an audible alert or make some lamp flash. This could be used for servers (or any PC that should be always ON).
Any other ideas? Share in the comments below.
Normally priced at $56.00 this item is currently on pre-sale for $43.47.
To make it easier to find in Smarthome’s store, look for Item# 71939.
P.S. An X10 version of INSTEON USB Controller is also available (Item# 71930).