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In the last year or so, we’ve seen a lot of new gadgets come to market that were meant for older adults. From phones to fitness trackers to personal safety devices, there have been some pretty interesting products.
There also have been quite a few devices that are not necessarily meant for one age group, but have definite benefits for older adults and their families. One of those new products to come onto the scene is the Nucleus Anywhere Intercom.
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The Nucleus Anywhere Intercom
The Nucleus is different than other home intercom systems in that it’s primary goal is to allow for ‘frictionless’ communication. Essentially, allow anyone to communicate easily with others, regardless of their age or abilities. (Though not a claim Nucleus makes, that sounds a little like Universal Design.)
To do that, the Nucleus supports three main categories of communication:
Room to room – Calling your hubby to come in from the shop for dinner.
Home to home – Calling the grandkids, other relatives or friends’ homes … across town or across the globe.
Mobile to home – Calls made from smartphones or tablets using the Nucleus app.
History of Nucleus
More than a decade ago, Jonathan Frankel, CEO of Nucleus was remodeling his home. With a wife and three young children, he wanted to install an intercom system to make it easy for them to communicate room-to-room. However, when he priced systems, he quickly realized how prohibitive the cost was… between $3,000.00 and $5,500.00.
So, he began searching for (cheaper) alternatives; ones that might use his home network. But, he came up empty-handed. Which, led to the idea of creating his own.
After several weeks of working on the design and market research, he realized he had a product people wanted to use.
Fast forward to 2015, Nucleus was funded to the tune of $3.37 million in seed money and the rest is history.
A quick look at what it does
Below is a video created by Nucleus to show how it can be used.
As you can see, it seems pretty handy. But, we wanted to dive a little deeper to see what it can really do. So, we shot some video of our own.
See and hear the grand kids : Get Nucleus
What’s in the box
Item Weight: 2.1 pounds
Product Dimensions: 9 x 7 x 0.9 inches
Colors: Black or White
Included: Power cord, AC adapter, wall mount, table stand
Warranty Description: Limited 1 year
Click images to see larger size.
The Nucleus is available in black or white. It is the right size for a table-top or wall-mounted device, measuring 8.1” x 6.9” x 1” (HWD), and the device itself weighs approximately 1 pound.
The device does not look, work or feel like it is cheaply made. Quite the contrary, actually. It smooth finish and intuitive design seem to be indicators of the quality of the product. Which, is confirmed after using it. (More on that later.)
For the technical folks, here are some of hardware features of the Nucleus:
8”, 1,280 x 800 pixel touchscreen
5-megapixel, 120-degree wide-angle camera
The Nucleus can easily transform from a tabletop device to wall-mounted via an interchangeable stand or bracket.
The Nucleus works with a free companion app for Android and iOS devices. The app sounds off and delivers a push notification when someone tries to reach you. You can also call a Nucleus user from the app, but you can only call other Nucleus devices or fellow app users in your network (more on this in the next section).
Amazon Alexa on the Nucleus can do pretty much anything the Amazon Echo or Echo Dot can do. And, using Amazon Alexa with the Nucleus is easy.
First, you make sure you are logged into Alexa using your Amazon account. Then, ensure the on-screen button marked “Alexa” is not off (red). If it is, just press it once. Then say, “Alexa, enable the Nucleus skill.” Once that is done, all you have to do is say, “Alexa,” then ask your question or give it a command.
I use several commands repeatedly, such as, “Alexa. Call Mom” and it calls my mom. And, “Alexa, play smooth jazz” and it selects a smooth jazz channel from Amazon Music. There are a host of others you can use, everything from ordering something from Amazon, hearing tomorrow’s weather forecast or searching for something you want to learn. (It also tells bad jokes. “Alexa, tell me a joke.”)
Connecting it to your home WiFi
Getting it setup on your home’s WiFi is pretty straightforward. It identifies the networks in range, you choose the one you want to use and supply the access key.
The Nucleus comes with a 5 megapixel wide-angle lense camera. The truth is, the camera works much better than I expected. It is not as clear as say an iPad, but the video images are clear and easy to see. The camera functions well in rooms with lots of light, as well as low-light rooms.
Over several months of use, including calling family, adding and removing mobile phones and using Alexa nearly daily, I am very happy with the addition of Nucleus to our home.
Making a call is fast. (Really fast compared to Skype or FaceTime.) This is especially true if the remote device is set to auto-answer.
Since Nucleus includes Amazon Alexa, you also can use Alexa skills to control home automation products.
Wall installations might look a bit awkward because of its power cord dangling down. (Unless you use Ethernet power adaptors. Ask your home automation professional about it.)
Typically, the video is good, but not always. Communication quality is (in part) dependent on Internet connection at both ends.