Samsung gives old smartphones a new role in your smart home

Old smartphones: you can have them recycled, but usually they are still lying around in some drawer after a few years. There is another way, thought Samsung. Through the Upcycling at Home program, the tech giant gives your previous phone(s) a second life as an IoT gadget, such as a light sensor or a baby monitor.

The recycling programs for smartphones have become a lot more sophisticated in recent years. For example, last year Apple started using a real robot that helps the fruit brand recycle old iPhones. In this process, a total of fourteen different minerals are ‘recovered’, such as lithium, after which these substances can be reused more easily.

Digital vivisectie

These types of programs have a beneficial effect on the environment in two ways: fewer additional raw materials need to be extracted, some of which are becoming increasingly scarce, and fewer harmful substances end up in the environment. Apart from that, the conditions under which some resources are extracted are nothing to write home about. In Congo, for example, where a lot of cobalt is extracted from the mines, child labor is said to be the order of the day.

Nevertheless, we do not take all our old telephones neatly to the recycling center. Often there are still photos, videos and other data on such a device, and we are simply too lazy to delete that data. Sometimes we just think it’s a shame to send a device to digital vivisection. Because: apart from the broken camera, creaking loudspeaker or that crack in the screen, does it still work fine?

It is for reasons like these or considerations that our old smartphones a lot end up in a drawer or cupboard, where they remain untouched for years. And that while they are all mini computers, bursting with computing power and bulging with ingenious sensors. Unutilized computing power and sensors…

New applications

Samsung therefore presented the Upcycling at Home program at the CES technology fair this week. Handy new applications for your old mobile phone, with one not-insignificant side note: it must be a Galaxy model from Samsung itself.

Older Galaxy’s will receive a software update in the course of this year, after which the user can assign the desired function to his old device. Samsung already showed a few examples at the CES fair. This makes it possible to use a telephone as a baby monitor: as soon as the microphone of the device detects crying or other disturbing sounds, it sends a notification via an app to the smartphone of the parent(s). We also saw a Galaxy phone serving as a light sensor: as soon as it gets dark in the house, this device sends you a message with the suggestion to switch on the lighting remotely. This is useful, for example, to simulate that people are at home when you are away, or to prevent your pet from getting stuck in pitch dark.

It is not yet known when Samsung will roll out the Upcycling at Home program this year, and which applications will be added.

Upcycling at Home. © Samsung

The recycling programs for smartphones have become a lot more sophisticated in recent years. For example, last year Apple started using a real robot that helps the fruit brand recycle old iPhones. In this process, a total of fourteen different minerals are ‘recovered’, such as lithium, after which these substances can be more easily reused. These types of programs have a beneficial effect on the environment in two ways: fewer additional raw materials need to be extracted, some of which are is becoming increasingly scarce, and fewer harmful substances end up in the environment. Apart from that, the conditions under which some resources are extracted are nothing to write home about. In Congo, for example, where a lot of cobalt is extracted from the mines, child labor is said to be the order of the day. Nevertheless, we do not take all our old telephones neatly to the recycling center. Often there are still photos, videos and other data on such a device, and we are simply too lazy to delete that data. Sometimes we just think it’s a shame to send a device to digital vivisection. Because: apart from the broken camera, creaking loudspeaker or that crack in the screen, does it still work fine? It is for reasons like this or considerations that our old smartphones end up en masse in a drawer or cupboard, where they then remain untouched for years. . And that while they are all mini computers, bursting with computing power and bulging with ingenious sensors. Unutilized computing power and sensors… That’s why Samsung presented the Upcycling at Home program at the CES technology fair this week. Handy new applications for your old mobile phone, with one not insignificant side note: it must be a Galaxy model from Samsung itself. Older Galaxy’s will receive a software update in the course of this year, after which the user can select the desired function himself. can allocate his old device. Samsung already showed a few examples at the CES fair. This makes it possible to use a telephone as a baby monitor: as soon as the microphone of the device detects crying or other disturbing sounds, it sends a notification via an app to the smartphone of the parent(s). We also saw a Galaxy phone serving as a light sensor: as soon as it gets dark in the house, this device sends you a message with the suggestion to switch on the lighting remotely. This is useful, for example, to simulate that people are at home in their absence, or to prevent your pet from sitting in pitch dark. When exactly Samsung will roll out the Upcycling at Home program this year, and which applications will be coming is not yet known.

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Samsung gives old smartphones a new role in your smart home