If you want to automate your home today, chances are you have to change something major about it. It may mean switching out a thermostat or replacing a light switch. There’s no getting around fumbling with wires, a screwdriver, and hoping not to get electrocuted. So, how are people supposed to try out home automation when it’s so hard just to get started? We created Switchmate to solve this problem, launching it as part of d.school’s fifth Launchpad class. Our device snaps right over a light switch and lets you control it from your phone in seconds without rewiring.
Our first major hurdle was to discover who our users would be and what their needs were. In order to do this, we built a basic prototype and stood outside of hardware stores, including Home Depot, Costco, and Lowe’s, testing the prototype with average people and writing down their thoughts before we were eventually kicked out. Continue Reading