Tech News: Samsung expands Galaxy Upcycling beta to turn old phones into IoT gadgets.
With their surplus devices being renewed every year, smartphone makers are facing increasing criticism about their contribution to e-waste. Samsung – which currently has more than 20 devices for sale in its store after previous attempts to scale its range by 30 percent – is hoping to breathe new life into old phones by turning them into smart home gadgets. While the upcycling process isn’t new, we applauded the company’s sustainability initiative because it promises easy access to new features in existing devices. Now, the Galaxy Upcycling at Home program is becoming available to the general public as well.
Starting today, Samsung is opening the beta of the program to people in the US, UK and its home country of Korea. Like the other smart home experiments, Samsung is testing Upcycling software through the SmartThings Labs feature in its SmartThings app. Once enabled, users can use their old Galaxy phones as baby monitors or light detectors using reused sensors, improved AI, and battery optimization.
In the case of the audio monitor, the device will alert you to recordings it has collected (such as a crying baby or a barking dog) so you can listen to them again. While the light sensor can measure the brightness of a room and automatically turn on the light or TV if the room gets darker than the preset standard. Since smart home devices tend to run for long periods of time, Samsung’s update will also reduce battery drain, keeping your tired old phone running.