I’ve written a bit about so called smart homes in recent months, whether it’s the homes being developed to try and help the elderly to retain their independence, or products such as Sense that aims to integrate the variety of smart devices in the home on a single platform.
The brain of things
A Stanford based startup is taking this to another level with what it’s referring to as the Brain of Things. This will see apartments fitted with a whole host of sensors that will not only track what we do at home, but use these insights to adapt to our habits and behaviors.
“The house knows the context, whether [its occupants] were watching a movie or sleeping or whatever,” the team say. “As they are walking around the house, our house follows how they are acting, and it can know a lot.”
So, for instance, it claims to be able to tell whether you’ve actually woken up to start your day or just to visit the toilet in the middle of the night, and adjust the lighting and so on accordingly.
The homes are kitted out with around 20 different sensors, with all of the infrastructure supporting the home, including its lights and appliances, are all connected up and run by the computers powering the home.
Residents can control their home via a smartphone app or via an array of voice activated commands, but the eventual aim is for the home to be so adept at knowing your habits that it will largely run itself.
The system has already been rolled out in a number of prototype homes in a development in California. Suffice to say, it isn’t without costs, and is said to add about $125 per month to the rent, with another small amount on top of that for maintenance. It’s also impossible to install the system on existing properties.
It seems inevitable that automation will find it’s way into our homes, so the Brain of Things might be a valuable staging post towards such a future. It will be interesting to follow their progress and look at how other providers build upon the work already done.