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Paper: The Aware Home

The Aware Home: A Living Laboratory for Ubiquitous Computing Research [pdf]
Cory D. Kidd, Robert Orr, Gregory D. Abowd, et al
Georgia Institute of Technology

Summary: this paper describes Georgia Institute of Technology's plans for building a mock smart home. The paper is fairly scant, but does offer a reasonable overview. Their home seems to be focusing on sensing technologies that are integrated with the actual infrastructure of the home.

Technologies:
- smart floor: using hidden markov models, floor sensors, and "ground reaction force" (GRF) profiles
- wearable computer for the home
- Finding Lost Objects (FLO): LCD panels that help users locate lost items using RFID

They hope to gather data on an individual's movements around a house. They also believe that with their smart floor they will be able to exactly pinpoint individual's locations within the home with approx. 90% accuracy.

In light of Grinter's "Accidentally Smart Home" comments, I tend to agree with Grinter that these smart home approaches, while interesting, aren't particularly practical. Also, I personally don't find ubicomp approaches that focus on sensing to be particularly interesting, as they don't address fundamental architectural and connectivity issues.

Comments (1)

Sensing technology, in particular RFID may well hold some value for smart home technology in the near future.

A truly smart home would be able to detect which room you (or anybody else) is in, turn all the other rooms lights/heating/AC/TV etc.. off whilst making sure that the users preffered entertainment/lighting .

Just the energy savings alone would be significant, especially if appliances where turned OFF instead of to standby (which still consumes reasonable power).

I work in Phuket, Thailand on smart homes for a living - I beilieve this sort of automation has a future, which will most probably be driven by energy efficiency (cost of energy).

Ben Hobbs
http://www.h3-digital.com

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