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Progression Towards the Intelligent Home. Progression Towards the Intelligent Home. ‘Smart home’ – an intelligent home that would provide fully automated 21 st century living, with multifunctional robots Automation has successfully conquered industry and working environments

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Progression Towards the Intelligent Home

  • ‘Smart home’ – an intelligent home that would provide fully automated 21st century living, with multifunctional robots
  • Automation has successfully conquered industry and working environments
  • Leisure time, domestic tasks and household management have remained untouched

Progression Towards the Intelligent Home

  • Adoption of electrical domestic appliances follow the process of commoditisation
  • New appliances expensive, unreliable and bought by the wealthy

“…the richer a person is, the more he is willing to pay for less benefit. Therefore, it is to be expected that the rich will be the early adopters of new technology…new technology can be used to ‘buy’ more free time.”

Lynne Hamill ‘The Introduction of New Technology into the Household’, Digital World Research Centre, University of Surrey, UK (2000)


Progression Towards the Intelligent Home

  • Technological improvements, reductions in the cost of manufacture and competition all help to reduce the cost
  • Once the market for the rich has been saturated, profit margins will be cut or cheaper products will be produced for the mass-market
  • Electric washing machine
    • Introduced by the Hurley Machine Company, Chicago in 1907 (model shown left c. 1925)
    • Early models were unreliable and expensive
    • Easy to sell as they eliminated or replaced household chores
    • Price of automated washing machines finally dropped in the 1960s, helped by the introduction of Seeburg timers

Progression Towards the Intelligent Home

  • Introduction of electrical domestic appliances did not reduce labour, only drudgery
  • 1950’s woman could complete all the housework that a housewife and several servants would have completed a decade before
  • Visions of a ‘house of tomorrow’: luxurious 21st

century living where housewives are finally relieved of their domestic duties

  • Vision of fully automated home and multifunctional domestic robot has largely remained untouched

Progression Towards the Intelligent Home

  • Broadband communications: 50% of people in European households using broadband by 2005 (IDC)
  • Electrolux’s ‘Screenfridge’:
    • Household members communicate via video-mail or email
    • Users can surf the web
    • Food management: recipes, how to handle foods, food storage
    • TV, radio and connections for surveillance cameras
    • Digital cookbook

Progression Towards the Intelligent Home

  • LG’s ‘Internet Washing Machine’
    • “Combines white goods with information and communications in response to the increasing popularity of home network products”
    • Download washing cycles from the ‘Turbodrum’ website

Progression Towards the Intelligent Home

  • Role of convergence

"In information technology, convergence is a term for the combining of personal computers, telecommunication, and television into a user experience that is accessible to everyone“

“Every decade has a word that defines it. In the 80’s it was the PC. In the 90’s it was the internet. This decade the key word is convergence”

Steve Case, AOL Time Warner


Progression Towards the Intelligent Home

  • General public need to be convinced of benefits of buying multifunctional devices

“Talking with your family through the refrigerator? That just sounds creepy. I suppose people will have to stop using the fridge while talking to their family…People will have to enter information about food and expiry dates manually…Isn\'t technology supposed to make our lives easier?”

Madhu Menon, Internet consultant

  • Compromise in design – designers need to successfully integrate two or more devices with restricted dimensions at a reasonable price
  • Jack of all trades, master of none?

Progression Towards the Intelligent Home

  • Uniform view that the home will be intelligent, connected and wireless although the way this will be achieved, and how the home will be networked, differs drastically
  • Television-centric:
    • Used for entertainment, email, online shopping and as the main interface
    • Regarded as a communal device, clashes over usage
    • Difficult to upgrade
  • PC-centric:
    • Problems of stability: consumer level PCs prone to crashing, potentially bringing down the entire network

Progression Towards the Intelligent Home

  • Post ‘PC’ world
    • Personal computing moving from the PC into a range of devices
    • Wearable PCs
    • ‘Smart computing’: single board interfaces will use a PC processor’s power, reducing size and cost
    • Change in interface from WIMP (Windows, Icons, Mouse and Pull-down menus) to speech and, eventually, physical gestures

“If technology is to be more accepted in the home, it must change to better suit this environment. A number of researchers have argued that this change will take the form of a ‘post PC world’.”

A.T. Brown, Hewlett Packard Labs, Bristol, UK


Progression Towards the Intelligent Home

  • Manufacturers need to convince consumers to embrace the ‘Intelligent home’
  • Sceptics claim manufacturers have lost touch with the consumer’s need and appliance design is being driven by what is technologically possible
  • The resulting products are complicated to use and intimidate consumers who don’t understand their function

Progression Towards the Intelligent Home

“Technology offers the potential to make life easier and more enjoyable; each new technology provides increased benefits. At the same time added complexities arise to increase our difficulty and frustration.”Donald A. Norman, ‘The Design of Everyday Things’

“Human beings are visually oriented, hands on and curious by nature. We may want to keep tangible interfaces to the real world and retain at least the impression that we know what is going on.”

Ian Pearson, BT Futurologist


Progression Towards the Intelligent Home

  • The house of the future has engineered confines, presuming a digital lifestyle

“With the notable exception of the television, which is profoundly home grown, most new domestic technologies embody notions of efficiency – designed to deliver better time and resource management”

Genevieve Bell, Intel Corporation, and Joseph Kaye, MIT Media Lab

‘Designing Technology for Domestic Spaces: A Kitchen Manifesto’

  • The kitchen is a social hub with a distinct cultural history that is to be understood before imposing technology on its inhabitants

Progression Towards the Intelligent Home

  • The development of an intelligent home is not restricted to a connected, automated domestic environment
  • Philips ‘Ambient project’ (right)
  • Ambient Intelligence as being an “exciting new paradigm in information technology, in which people are empowered through a digital environment that is aware of their presence and context, and is sensitive, adaptive, and responsive to their needs, habits, gestures and emotions”, merging the concepts of “ubiquitous computing" and "social user interfaces” to improve the quality of life

Progression Towards the Intelligent Home

  • The project aims to create a future home resembling the house of the past and eradicating all the black boxes that feature in our homes today
  • Example of contents:
    • Bathroom mirror (right): reflects your image, the news or weather
    • Nebula: an interactive projector determined by movement
    • Audio system: trigger a song by humming the tune

Progression Towards the Intelligent Home

"Technology in our homes will evolve to the point that it we don\'t have to \'work\' to experience it. Rather, it will understand us and react to our needs, making our lives easier."

"In a true Ambient Intelligence environment, all electronic features and functions are integrated into people\'s backgrounds."

Spokesman for Philips


Progression Towards the Intelligent Home

  • Aware home, Georgia Tech
  • The Aware Home venture is concerned with “addressing the fundamental technical, design, and social challenges” of the creation of a home environment that is aware of its occupants and their activities
  • The home is a network of sensors and computers monitoring the movements and actions of the household members
  • It contains a vast array of gadgets, designed to enhance the quality of life, with special emphasis on the elderly

Progression Towards the Intelligent Home

  • Example of contents:
    • ‘Digital family portrait’ (right): reconnects geographically distant extended family members.
    • Designed to resemble a portrait, the border changes daily reflecting the person’s life, providing peace of mind for family members
  • ‘Gesture Pendant’: a necklace with a small camera inside that allows the user to control devices within their environment through gestures
  • ‘What am I cooking?’ (next): vision sensors capture information and displays them as visual cues

Progression Towards the Intelligent Home

"It\'s not enough just to solve these problems in the abstract. To really understand the problems and challenges of ubiquitous computing, you have to build actual environments. You have to take [aware technology] and apply it to the body…the home."

Dr. Gregory Abowd, Aware Home project leader


Progression Towards the Intelligent Home

  • Domestic Robots:
    • Assistance for the disabled
    • Entertainment - Sony’s AIBO that can learn through experience, as well as read emails and take photographs with its onboard camera)
    • Household maintenance - Dyson (DC06 – still on home trial - below), Electrolux (‘Trilobite’ - below), iRobot (‘Roomba’ - below) and Probotics (‘Cye’ - next)

Progression Towards the Intelligent Home

  • Challenges:
    • household environment is a complex mass of wires (resolved by wireless network), confined spaces and uneven floors
    • Uncontrolled environment with humans interacting in the space
    • A safe, powerful, portable power supply is needed
    • Robots with AI or other behavioural complexities still have technical difficulties
    • Economic concerns mean that design, functionality and materials can be compromised