updated 07:35 pm EST, Thu December 22, 2011
Thermostat takes cues from Apple gadgets
The Nest thermostat, which was created by iPod pioneer Tony Fadell, has already been dissected by at least one early buyer. DIY electronics retailer Sparkfun purchased one of the unique thermostats to tear apart, revealing internal components that show an attention to detail that is commonly found inside Apple's mobile products such as iPods and iPhones.
The device integrates a wide range of sensors, including a proximity sensor, movement sensor and hygrometer to determine humidity. Interestingly enough, the components include a small lithium-polymer battery. It is unclear if the battery serves as supplementary power to the HVAC system during Wi-Fi communication, or works to retain memory through a power outage.
The teardown also revealed that a ZigBee antenna appears to complement the Wi-Fi radio. ZigBee technology is utilized to communicate with other in-home equipment such as light switches and electrical meters.
It is unclear if the company plans to expand Nest functionality to add ZigBee support.