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July 19, 2016

How to make your basement smart

by John_A

Downstairs, in the basement, can be a great place to escape to. Your den can be full of fun, from a great TV to video games to the newest entertainment kid on the block – virtual reality.

The latter needs some space and perhaps the basement is the best for that, where there’s no dining table in the way. Your desk needs a bit of tech love too though, so there’s also a desk light that will never run out of light. Here are some excellent gadgets for making your basement smart.

Jake Dyson CSYS task light

Jake Dyson

Few things are more annoying in the basement than a bulb blowing when you’re in the middle of working on something urgent. And where did you put the spare bulb for that particular light, because it’s not with all the others? So why not choose a desk lamp that should never need this attention.

This lamp, also available in a floor-standing version, uses LED bulbs. These are long-lasting anyway, but according to Jake, son of the inventor Sir James Dyson, because of clever heat sink technology to keep them cool, the ones on this light will last 144,000 hours. Which is enough for anyone, surely? The arm pivots, slides and rotates cleverly so the light is exactly where you need it.

Tesla Powerwall


Solar panels can be a great way to generate electricity, but you can’t always rely on the sun when you need it. This is a battery which is charged from solar panels ready for when you need it.

It can also be connected to the regular power supply, to be charged when utility rates are low, so you can use the power in the evening, say. It can also be used to power your house, or select appliances, in the event of a power outage.

Honeywell Lyric Wireless


Honeywell’s house protection has many features, including a camera. That’s handy for a room like the basement. Hear a noise late at night? The camera can snap a shot that you can see on your tablet or smartphone.

Want to know what the dog gets up to while you’re out? The Lyric lets you watch live video remotely and a speaker means it’ll let you shout “Get off the armchair now!”. Sadly, it can’t force the dog to comply. That’s down to your tone of voice.

Amazon Fire TV Stick


You might have snuck a TV into the basement to make it a bit more den-like, but the cable, the TV aerial and none of the wiring reaches. In this case, why not try a box like the tiny Fire TV Stick which plugs into your screen’s HDMI socket and uses the Wi-Fi network to stream content.

If you team it with an Amazon Prime subscription, you have access to a wealth of TV programmes and movies at no extra cost. There are also apps which let you access CNN, HBO Now and lots more. It’s entirely portable so you can take it to a friend’s house, or even to use in some hotel TVs while you’re away.

Sony PlayStation 4


Where better to play games than while you’re down in the basement? It’s not taking up the family TV when they want to be watching Game of Thrones, for a start and you can play for as long as you want without being disturbed.

The PlayStation 4 is an incredibly advanced games machine with a wide range of titles from full-on actioners with gore and realism to platform games that demand a greater dexterity than you might think. Plus, since you can download games over Wi-Fi, you may never leave your den again.

HTC Vive


If you’ve got a decent-sized floor space in your basement, why not get into the latest, most exciting way to play games? That’s virtual reality and this is the brilliant Vive from HTC. A helmet goes over your head, with screens just in front of your eyes. Cables connect the helmet to your PC, and you’ll need quite a powerful one to go with the Vive.

Some of the games and experiences are eye-poppingly beautiful and utterly immersive. There are also clever safeguards to prevent you from walking into the wall that you can’t see because you’re roaming a different world – a mesh of squares appears as you approach the edge of the safe zone.

The Honeywell Lyric Water Leak and Freeze Detector is an early warning system that notifies you on your smartphone when a leak is detected or the temperature drops below a temperature of your choice. By catching it early, you may be able to avoid expensive repairs and loss of treasured items. To find out more visit

This article was created in association with Honeywell.

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