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Nest smart thermostat teardown reveals inner beauty

first_imgA very curious geek has risked the $250 investment in the Nest thermostat — the clever, networked device from one of the people behind the iPod — to tear it apart and share its insides with the world. The teardown reveals that the Nest is truly an advanced piece of electronics with a very Apple-ish attention to detail.The thermostat is chock full of high tech parts, including infrared sensors for movement and proximity, humidity sensors, a magneto scroll, and even a mini-USB connector. It also has multiple wireless radios and a large battery to provide steady power to all these extra bits.Throughout the process, our hero noticed the ease of taking things apart and even got about halfway through the process with the Nest-branded Phillips screwdriver included in the box. After that, the Torx screwdrivers came out.If you were wondering, magneto sensors are used in the scrolling outer edge of the device. Like a click wheel, it’s used for everything from raising or lowering the temperature to choosing letters from a radial menu to enter Wi-Fi passwords.When he reached the end of the teardown, the bare PCB, he found something remarkable: every IC chip was bonded to the PCB. He exclaimed with surprise, wondering if Nest was worried about mechanical shock or vibration. A more likely cause is a concern for long-running device quality. A thermostat is unlike most gadgets we buy, for instance a mobile phone. People don’t want to upgrade them frequently — consumers tend to buy one and keep it forever.To the disappointment of many of us here at Geek, none of the specific ICs have been looked up yet. However, the author spotted “two flexible PCB antennas” with one marked Zigbee, in reference to an open standard for automated home devices. It’s likely the case that the other one is for Wifi and that the thermostat, along with future Nest devices, will embrace the Zigbee standard.In another testament to the device’s design it “astonishingly” was put back together in just a few minutes. Ultimately the teardown’s author praised the hardware design, as well as the UI and website design for the Nest. “It’s slick. Really slick,” he wrote, adding that the ribbons, connectors, battery and hardware were all of high quality.More at SparkfunBlake’s OpinionAs we wrote when Nest was introduced, there’s a lot of Apple DNA in this product. That’s not too surprising considering Nest is founded by Tony Fadell, who is a prominent character in the iPod chapter of Steve Jobs’ biography. He’s often referred to colloquially as “the father of the iPod.” But there’s one more chapter from the Jobs bio that belongs in the Nest story: an emphasis on beauty, even in the parts inside the device.The teardown pictures reveal that the Nest thermostat is as pretty inside as it can be. Lines are clean, parts are well laid out, and even though almost no one will tear down the device like this, almost anyone can. There are even hints of symmetry among connectors inside the round device. There are still other small, Apple-ish details like the “Designed in US / Built in China” monicker printed on the back of the device.Aside from the trademark attractive design and well-executed software, it’s clear that Fadell and company took a lot of Apple with them when they left to form Nest.last_img read more

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