What happens when you upgrade your old phone? Samsung hopes to cut down on consumer waste with a clever new upcycling program that turns old smartphones into smart home devices.
Galaxy Upcycling at Home is a new program that just entered beta for Samsung customers in Korea, the US and the UK.
Part of the company’s sustainability initiatives, the Galaxy Upcycling software will be available in the SmartThings app to bring new life to old Galaxy phones.
If you have one lying around and still functional, you can turn it into a baby monitor or a light detector. Using the light sensor, the latter can automatically measure the brightness in a room and turn on the lights or the smart TV.
“Using an improved artificial intelligence (AI) solution, Galaxy devices can more accurately distinguish sounds in everyday surroundings, and users can choose to save certain sound recordings. For example, if the device detects sounds such as a baby crying, dog barking, cat meowing, or a knock, it will send an alert directly to the user’s smartphone and the user can listen to the recorded sound.
Devices can also be used as a light sensor to measure the brightness level of the room. Users can easily set the device to automatically turn on the lights or the TV through SmartThings if the room becomes darker than the preset standard of light,” explains Samsung.
Theoretically you could already repurpose phones like this but Samsung’s update will make it a lot easier and optimize the battery life, as most IoT devices need to operate for a long time.
It’s especially useful considering the numbers Samsung revealed a couple of years back, in 2018.
We live in a world “where approximately 50 million tons of electronics were discarded last year,” said the company back then, a number which has surely only gone up since.
You can find the new upcycling feature in the SmartThings app under SmartThings Lab.