Automate Your Home – Like in a Sci-Fi Film

With today and tomorrow’s technology, it’s easily possible to automate your home like one you’d see in a sci-fi film. Only 18 days to go, at the time this article was written, and SmartThings has already reached its Kickstarter goal twice over. It promises to turn virtually any physical object and switches into remotely usable interfaces. Its slogan is “Adding intelligence to everyday things in your world so that your life can be more awesome.” Until the initial US-only release, SmartThings encourages developers to contact it with ideas. An international launch is planned for Q3 2013.

It’s a strong proof that people are excited about the possibilities of technology in their domestic environments. In films, this has been shown to great effect. Most recently, the Iron Man series comes to mind with Tony Stark’s house and computers connected to Jarvis, a highly advanced artificial intelligence that’s even capable of joking around. There seems to exist a global craving for more dependance on gadgets and the Internet.

At CES 2012, Samsung showcased its transparent smart window technology, which will be entering mass production in the very near future. It mimics the smart windows from one of the coolest scenes in Iron Man (see above video). Your regular window pane becomes a computer screen with widgets, social feeds, and virtual blinds. It would most likely be very infuriating if someone kicked a football into your new smart window.

It would certainly be fun to wake up, listening to a computer greeting you with the latest news and weather forecast. This is the dream of many a geek in the world. On a related subject, we published an article on the Android app Tasker, with which it’s possible to reach a high level of automation. Many of these technologies strive to simplify the interaction with computers and home appliances. A fridge that automatically orders depleting foods will be a great help.

Automate Your Home, Like in a Sci-Fi Film

SmartThings promises to offer a way to make these dreams come true for a price that will be within reach of many. It will also offer an SDK (software development kit), so developers have the possibility to sell products with SmartThings built in.

One scenario could be making your pet’s collar smart. If your dog, for instance, leaves the dictated perimeter unattended, you’ll be notified on your smartphone. Beyond that, you can also turn your lights into a social media notification system by making them flicker when you have a new message. Have your TV and lights turn on and off in lifelike patterns, randomly, or even in response to sensors. This could be helpful when you’re gone a long time. The possibilities are endless if you are handy with soldering and arduinos. Connecting everyday devices with the SmartThings router will require a little more effort.

Telldus Technologies already offers a similar technology, and it’s already available on the market. Its kits offer similar options, including the programming of lights when you’re away. An app will also be available (on iOS initially, but an Android app is a top priority), making it possible to switch off the coffee machine while you’re at the office. And how many times have you forgotten to turn off the stove before leaving the house?

At launch, the following core devices will be available:

Power Outlet — anything that can be plugged in can be turned on and off.
Open/Shut Sensor — know if doors, windows or cabinets are open or closed.
Motion Sensor — detect movement within a room.
Presence Sensor — know when people and pets come and go.

Which possibilities do you see? What would you do with this new technology in your home? Are there Telldus users among our readers?

Image: SmartThings Kickstarter project