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Samsung SmartThings now lets you use an old Galaxy phone as a sensor for home automation

Early this year, Samsung teased a new program that would give old Galaxy smartphones a new life by repurposing them for smart home functions. This week, the first of those functions is rolling out with Samsung SmartThings using older phones as sensors.

Starting today in beta in the United States, United Kingdom, and Korea, “Galaxy Upcycling at Home” has begun. The program starts by converting old Galaxy phones into sensors that can be used with Samsung SmartThings. There are two key uses.

First, older Galaxy devices will be able to listen for and record sound clips that notify a user through another device of events such as a baby crying, dog or cat, or a knock at the door. On the receiving smartphone, the event can even be heard.

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 the recorded sound.

Further, Samsung will also allow Galaxy smartphone owners to use their old devices as a light sensor. The phone can measure the brightness level of the room and trigger actions such as adjusting smart lights or controlling the TV.

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.

Samsung says these sensor functions will be available to older Galaxy phones through the SmartThings app, specifically through a feature called “SmartThings Labs.” Samsung notes that the device will need to be “actively operating” for long periods of time, and battery optimization will be applied too, with “effortless” connections to IoT devices in SmartThings.

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