Nest’s security hub doubles as a Google Assistant device

Nest’s security hub doubles as a Google Assistant device


Nicole Lee/Engadget

You can already use Google Assistant to control a Nest Secure system, but the company is taking things one step further. From now on, the Guard hub at the heart of Secure can serve as a Google Assistant device. You can ask about the weather before you set the alarm without having to be in shouting distance of a dedicated smart speaker, for instance. Common features like Routines, reminders and smart home control will work as well.

Common restrictions still apply. You can’t disarm your security system by voice, and you’ll need a Nest Hello doorbell to have Assistant announce a familiar face at the door. If you can live with those limitations, though, you’ll have more flexibility in how and where you invoke Google’s AI helper.

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Drones can detect protected nightjar nests

Drones can detect protected nightjar nests

Thermal-sensing cameras mounted on drones may offer a safer and more cost-effective way to locate nests of the elusive European nightjar in forestry work and construction areas, according to new research presented at the British Ecological Society’s annual meeting in Birmingham today.

Ecologists from Cardiff University recently conducted a pilot study in Bryn, a Natural Resources Wales managed conifer plantation in South Wales, to test the suitability of drones to detect nest sites of the protected European nightjar.

“The current methods of searching for nightjar nests on foot are expensive and can pose a health and safety risk for people, particularly when accessing clearfell worksites,” said Mike Shewring, a PhD student at Cardiff University.

“Nightjars are camouflaged to look just like a fallen log or dead wood. They nest on the ground and ‘sit tight’ when approached to avoid detection, which makes it nearly impossible to spot them during the day when they are inactive,” he added.

To test the new method, the team used the drones to take thermal photographs at nest sites, where observations and radio tracking previously showed European nightjars were breeding between May and August. Images were taken at various heights (10, 20 and 50 metres) at dawn, midday and dusk. The nests were observed from a distance to see if the drones caused any disturbance.

From the photographs, the researchers could detect nests due to the high temperature contrast between the nightjar’s body (40°C) and the colder background area. Images taken at 10 metres and during cooler times of the day (dawn and dusk) proved most useful. The known elevations at which the drones were flown allowed the team to estimate the body size of the nightjars to confirm the species.

“Our preliminary findings demonstrate the potential of drones for surveying nightjars during their breeding season, allowing forestry managers to locate nests more accurately and plan their works adequately. This methodology could also have wider applications, since it could technically be adapted to detect any warm-blooded species,” commented project supervisor Dr Robert Thomas.

All nightjars sat tight on their nests during the drone flights, as they usually do to avoid being detected by predators.

“We don’t know whether the nightjars perceived the drones as a predator. This would be interesting to explore in future studies to ensure that the sight and sound of drones don’t have any negative impacts on the birds’ stress levels or metabolism,” Shewring concluded.

Mike Shewring will present a poster on his work on Monday 17 December 2018 at the British Ecological Society annual meeting. The conference will bring together 1,200 ecologists from more than 40 countries to discuss the latest research.

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Nest’s simplified Thermostat E arrives in the UK for £199

Nest’s simplified Thermostat E arrives in the UK for £199

Nest’s Thermostat E arrived on the scene a little over a year ago, with its relatively simplistic, subtle design making it appear perhaps less prominent in your living space than other smart thermostats. Now, it’s making its way to the UK. Pre-orders…

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Ecobee smart thermostats now save you money during peak hours

Ecobee smart thermostats now save you money during peak hours,

Ecobee now has an answer to Nest’s peak-usage energy savings. It’s launching a Peak Relief pilot program that automatically cuts down on heating and cooling when electricity rates are at their highest. It uses your comfort preferences, home energy…

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Asian hornet nests found by radio-tracking

Asian hornet nests found by radio-tracking,

Electronic radio tags could be used to track invasive Asian hornets and stop them colonizing the UK and killing honeybees, new research shows.

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Nest Learning Thermostat (2015) review – CNET

Nest Learning Thermostat (2015) review – CNET, ,

A better display and a temperature sensor accessory make Nest’s Learning Thermostat more appealing.

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Nest’s Temperature Sensor is now available for $39

Nest’s Temperature Sensor is now available for $39

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Don’t worry if you missed out on pre-ordering Nest’s Temperature Sensor last month — it’s now available for purchase, and you can even get it straight from the company’s website or from the Google Store. The puck-shaped device works in tandem with N…

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Nest’s Hello is a premium doorbell for the paranoid homeowner

Nest’s Hello is a premium doorbell for the paranoid homeowner

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Last September, Nest introduced several new offerings aimed at beefing up your home security. There was the Nest Secure alarm system, an outdoor version of its Nest Cam iQ and the Nest Hello, its first-ever video doorbell. The Hello is obviously Nest…

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