The rise of the machines has begun: Steve Sande’s household fan is now self-aware. Sande, a Colorado-based tech writer, had noticed that his cat, Ruby, was suffering on hot summer days. His house doesn’t have air-conditioning, and he wasn’t always around to turn on the fan.
So Sande bought a new gizmo called the WeMo Switch, which connects to the Internet so you can turn on an outlet remotely. It’s also programmable. Using the free web service If This Then That, Sande created a script that monitors information from Yahoo Weather. If the temperature in his neighborhood hits 85 degrees, the fan turns itself on and cools the house. “This entire thing,” he says, “revolves around a 17-year-old cat.”