Pium wants your smart home to smell as good as it looks
Alphr Kickstarter of the week: Pium
“My smart home’s got no nose”
“How does it smell?”
Your Amazon Echo can turn out the lights and change the temperature, but can it make your front room bearable for guests if it honks like a Canada goose? Enter Pium: a smart aromatherapeutic solution for the home which will automatically match the scent to what you’re up to.
What is Pium?
Pium is a cylindrical device that looks like the Amazon Echo cosplaying as Robocop. Inside, you slip up to three scent capsules which combine to create different smells based on your personal preference.
Better still, while you can fiddle with the smell of your house in the same way you’d change the shade of colour on your smart bulbs, you can leave this entirely up to the app to manage for you. This can tie into your daily routine, providing a productive scent of peppermint for 9am as you’re starting work, before setting down to a relaxing honey and cherry blossom for when it’s time to wind down.
Pium is designed to fit in with your existing smart home setup, meaning you’ll be able to control it via Echo or Google Home, as well as through the (more) traditional channels of smartphone and Apple Watch.
Why should I care?
Fair enough, there’s a very good chance I won’t be able to answer this question: aromatherapy isn’t for everyone.
But in Pium’s defence, it’s one of the few senses that has yet to be answered with a smart home solution. Echo and Google Home has hearing covered, Nest is all about getting the feel right, while Philips Hue is controlling sight. Who is looking out for smell?
And taste, but no doubt that’s a Kickstarter for another day.
How much and when would I get it?
Right now, the cheapest price you can get a Pium for is $149 (~£116) plus postage – a saving of 50% on the estimated RRP. For that you get the Pium Chelsea (a less stylish looking version of the device with the exact same functionality) and a capsule of the scent of your choice, selected via the mobile app.
Scent capsules last for four to six weeks, and the designers say they’re working on a kind of subscription package managed through the app, with each capsule costing around $15 (~£12).
The estimated delivery date for early backers is February 2018.
Is there anything else like Pium out there?
There are smart diffusers out there, but the term “smart” is definitely relative. Prezzibox has this smart diffuser which doubles up as a speaker and LED Lamp. The EMOI Aroma Diffuser pulls off a similar trick. Who knew that people wanted smells with their music?
Finally, there’s Noso: a device that’s coming soon which seems to do pretty much the same thing as Pium.
Crucially, Pium’s main selling point – that it manages scents to your schedule – doesn’t seem to be replicated elsewhere as far as I can see. Whether that’s worth the extra cost and inherent risk of crowdfunding is up to you.
How risky is backing Pium?
On that subject, there is no such thing as a guaranteed product. The end result may not be what’s promised, might never see the light of day, or might disappoint in another way. Only pay what you can afford to lose.
In Pium’s case, it’s quite hard to tell how risky it is. Even aside from the technical challenges of shipping a product, smell is a pretty personal thing – it’s hard to say whether you’ll actually like the scents you’re stuck with.
In terms of whether the product will ever arrive… well, there’s a prototype, which is always a good start. And they’ve already reached their funding target of $48,000 with seven days to go.
In short, there’s nothing that screams that the company won’t deliver, but there’s also nothing that should make you too complacent that it will. Your standard Kickstarter, really.
Alphr’s previous Kickstarter favourites
- Audiolux One wants you to see sound
- HelloPlant will make you a better gardener
- Nope is an elegant way of keeping your webcam and mic safe from hackers
- Superbook is the laptop that you never need to upgrade
- MIXXTAPE wants to revive the cassette for the 21st century
- Dough Universe wants to teach children about electricity through play
- Pico C will turn your kitchen into a mini brewery
- Fix the MacBook Pro’s missing ports with the HyperDrive