Tag Archives: smart home

cartoon garage


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This might be the app that convinces the average person to adopt some smart home features. Not just for garage doors, but the simple idea of visibility.

If you have a garage, you’ve likely experienced a nagging bout of door doubt at some point. It’s that sinking feeling you get after leaving home, and it starts when you’re about two blocks away: “Did I actually close the garage?” But you’re probably running late and the kids are arguing in the backseat, so it’s no wonder you can’t recall. Until a year ago, you had two choices: Double back and check, wasting precious minutes, or just take the chance that thieves won’t view a wide-open garage as an invitation to help themselves to its contents. Today, however, there’s a third, smarter way to go.

smart door

DIY Smart Home

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I was really jealous when I read about the way Alexia McKenzie created her own smart home. Not these specific components, but similar ideas that would match my own preferences. I just don’t have the hardware and software skills to pull it off. She installed a sensor that tells her when a letter arrives. A webcam livestreams a view of her doorstep to her phone, so she always knows who’s knocking. As for laundry, she doesn’t bother — don’t you know there’s an app for…

estimote beacon and cell phone


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Nearables is a cute name for a product developed by startup Estimote, along with its partner – design firm IDEO. Nearables are an application of beacon technology that I hope evokes some thought to take you through the weekend.

“Beacons are a little bit like URLs for the physical world,” says Steve Cheney, cofounder and senior vice president. “We don’t know exactly how it’s all going to work out, from the experience level, but I think the apps you use the most will start to integrate beacon technology in a way where you assume it was always that way.”

Internet of Things depicted through a robotic dog and a talking toaster

Smart Home Dystopia

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Stanley Bing’s “While you were out” column on the Fortune Magazine back page is always good for a laugh and his dystopian vision of our smart home future is a good one. But the truth is that we do need to be thinking about these implications as we move Internet-enabled appliances and smarter homes. The definition of “smarter” really depends on how we implement these technologies. We need to be just as aware of personal preferences and sensitivities as we are of traditional HF performance measures like learnability and task time.

I went to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and all anybody talked about was the Internet of Things. Yes, it looks like the day is finally here when every Thing we own has a tiny silicon brain that can think and talk to you and, more important, to all the other Things, and all is connected with the great web that unites us.

a small apartment

Incredible MicroApartment in the Netherlands

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A team of incredibly innovative design students at TU Delft in The Netherlands designed this micro apartment with a single room that is customizably configurable for different functions at the touch of a button (or manually if the user prefers). Flexible polypropylene panels don’t just move around to shift square footage among rooms, they also bend and rotate to become the furniture itself.

The Swiss Army knife of apartment designs provides 1,000 square feet of living space in an apartment half the size…