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Samsung has announced its Galaxy Upcycling at Home programme. The programme allows old Galaxy smartphones to be used as IoT devices, such as a baby monitor or a light sensor.

Specifically, Samsung has announced two applications for the old devices. Based on an AI solution, the devices are able to distinguish specific sounds from background noise, so that only those sounds are stored. Examples of these sounds are a crying baby, barking dog, meowing cat or someone knocking on the door. When such a sound is detected, the user receives a notification and can listen back to the sound.

Light sensor

Alternatively, an old smartphone can be set up as a light sensor. Based on this sensor, the lights or the television can be switched on automatically when it gets dark. The whole system integrates with SmartThings, Samsung’s smart home platform.

Samsung says that in order to function as a light sensor or IoT device for a long time, the battery life needs to be optimised as much as possible. Therefore, Samsung has equipped the Galaxy Upcycling at Home upgrade with software that minimises battery consumption.


Galaxy Upcycling at Home is currently available as a beta version in the US, UK and South Korea. The software so far only works on Galaxy S, Note and Z devices from 2018 or newer. These are the S9, Note 9 or more recent devices. Android 9 must also be installed on the devices. In the future, Samsung plans to expand the programme to other devices. No word yet on future expansions to other countries.

Fast-growing trend

“Smart home devices are a fast-growing trend for consumer electronics, and we believe that Galaxy devices currently not in use can play an important role in turning every home into a smart home,” said Jaeyeon Jung, VP & Head of the SmartThings team, Mobile Communications Business at Samsung Electronics. “The program transforms Galaxy devices into SmartThings devices and demonstrates the power of our intelligent IoT platform to broaden the possibilities of what users can do with their old phones. Through Galaxy Upcycling at Home, users will have access to the complete SmartThings ecosystem, enabling them to explore broader updates and features without having to purchase a new device.”

Tip: Samsung says its Galaxy Buds Pro can match hearing aids