Smart house tech is about to go a step beyond your average energy-efficiency monitoring systems. What about a house that prepares a fresh pot of coffee when you wake up, plays your favorite music without being told to, and sets the thermostat to your ideal setting? Now that's smart.
Smart-home researchers in the UK want to test systems that rely on "ambient intelligence" -- systems that can learn your preferences and behavior and adjust conditions accordingly, according to Greenbang, a London-based sustainability blog.
The goal is to explore ways to enhance human-technology relationships, so your machines will know what you want and how to make you happy.
In such a situation, your coffee maker, home theater system, air conditioner and laundry machines could all communicate autonomously, and carry out specific tasks that fit your behavior patterns, as well as efficient use.
Researchers at the University of Essex are seeking a few volunteers to study such systems, as part of a European Union program called "Adaptive and Trusted Ambient Ecologies," or ATRACO.Essex researchers plan to test emerging technology in a simulated house called iSpace, an "intelligent dorm" that is a fully-functioning two-bedroom apartment. The iSpace has a group of gadgets that can communicate with each other, and is outfitted with sensors and other equipment that enable the devices to monitor and make changes to the environment.
Researchers have already asked volunteers to imagine iSpace as their home and told them to interact with various aspects of the ATRACO system, according to the Intelligent Environment Group at the University of Essex. The next step is to ask volunteers to hang out in iSpace for four two-hour sessions sometime this fall.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.