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- Every story needs a hero: ours is Stirling Moss, racing car driver. - In early March 2010, he fell down a lift shaft in his house in Mayfair, a fancy part of London, and broke both his ankles. Not a young man, this wasn’t an easy thing to recover from. Stirling Moss is the human face of the failure of smart homes. - Rewind 40 years: Stirling Moss started to make his name and money in racing cars. He’d always been interested in gadgets and tinkering, so he bought up some land in Mayfair and started to build his own smart home fro scratch. - Lots of gadgets in it: first prototype washing machine; a remote control that let him run his bath, letting him know how long it would take to fill; a chute between his secretary’s study on the second floor and his on the first, so she could pass letters down to him; and a lift between all 6 floors, where the doors would only open when the lift was there. - In early March 2010 Stirling was waiting on the top of his house to take the lift to the bottom. The doors opened, he stepped in - but the mechanisms had failed that day, and the lift wasn’t actually there. He fell down the lift shaft and broke both his ankles.
- It wasn’t meant to be that way. By 2010 we were all supposed to be living in dream homes that would technologically fulfil our every need. - This is a dream kitchen from part of the GM Promotional Fair in 1956; a ‘Kitchen of Tomorrow’ designed to showcase Frigidaire’s technologies, well before the ‘Internet of Things’ ever came on the scene. - There are punch-card recipes from IBM; a dishwasher that will wash dishes with ultrasonic waves; what appears to be some levitating bacon; probably even the hostesses skirt is wired up to the kitchen in some way.
- Fast-forward 50 years and smart homes have changed too - there’s a lot more talk around sustainability, environmental friendliness and ‘green-ness’ built into the discussion around their architecture and build. - This is what we have now: one of the smart homes designed by Michelle Kaufmann designers. It’s gorgeous,lots of big windows and designed airflow to control heating. Behind the scenes there are various mechanisms in place to measure energy monitoring, and so on. - But it’s still not widely available. To live in one of these you have to buy the entire thing - and obviously for such a large, beautiful and intelligent piece of architecture, it doesn’t come cheap. The way that most people will get a chance to be inside of one of these smart homes is if they bought a ticket for the ‘Green and Wired’ exhibition in Chicago last year that the entire house was exhibited in. - Also: it’s still controlled, all encompassing design. - So: we have failure here - over 50 years after the ‘Kitchen of the Future’, we’re still not living in it.
- Why? Firstly, homes have several users, each of whom experience and use their home in different ways. -
- Homes should be safe and personal places where you feel comfortable and in control of your surroundings, not the other way around. - I don’t want to go to my fridge to get some milk and have it tell me ‘I’m afraid I can’t let you do that, Alex’. - There’s an excellent short story by Isaac Asimov [I think] about the fear of what smart homes might be. A family, sometime in the future of the 1950s, decide that they all want to go on a diet together. So, with the help of their smart home, they control what they eat, how much exercise they do, and after a month or so of this regime they decide that they’ve slimmed down enough. So they tell the house ‘Hey, we’ve finished our diet, can we get some ice-cream out of the freezer?’ To which the house replies, ‘No - you could do with losing a bit more’, and ends up starving them to death.
- The idea that we want to be in control of our surroundings, and personalise as we see fit isn’t a new one at all. Interior designers, decorators, and companies like Ikea have built their entire business model around people wanting to make their home their own. - Sometimes this can be expensive but a lot of the time we do it on the cheap - making do and remaking with what we find around us. It can also be easier to play around and rebuild with materials that are cheap and lend themselves to remodelling - the Ikea Hacks community is predicated on the cheapness of Ikea furniture, and how few skills it takes to turn a coffee table into a hamster cage, or several bowls into a chandelier. - And it’s also intensly personal to the point of pedentry: Georgina has recently moved in with her partner, and was saying how she was horrified to realise that they’d had a 15 minute discussion about where in the room the laundry basket should go.
- Unfortunately, personalised technology for the home hasn’t progressed at the same rate; a kettle with a choice of colour options doesn’t really count. The nearest thing we have is ‘bling homes’, which in a way are the antithesis of smart homes. - ‘Bling homes’ are the homes which, around the festive season, are massively overdecorated with fairy lights and flashing lights and light-up trees. They aren’t smart by any means, but they are extremely enthusiastic - ‘Woo! Christmas!’ - a little like the tipsy aunt who gives you a big hug at the family get together. I [Georgina] think that they’re great - they’re so personal and overexcited. You can decorate your house any way you want; fairy lights are cheap (although the cost of electricity may not be). But - so far, they haven’t been very smart.
- …until now. This, I probably don’t need to tell you, is an Arduino microcontroller. [What it does] - As you can see from the picture, it’s very small - about the size of the palm of your hand, It’s also very thin and flexible - you could probably fit it in your mouth if you wanted to (you probably shouldn’t, but it’s good to have choices). - The Lilypad is designed to be used in smart clothing, so if our lady from the ‘Kitchen of Tomorrow’ had one of these sewn into her skirt she could probably use it to detect when the kettle had boiled. - They were designed to be used in education, so they’re cheap, they’re easy to use without much of a background in electronics (although if you know enough about hardware and software you can build all sorts of things). Most importantly, they’re tools - they open up pathways of design, rather than constraining pathways of use.
- …so what does this mean for smart homes? Instead of living in ones that have been designed by other people, we will help you design and build the smart home that you want to live in.
- These are examples of smart home technologies and gadgets that have already been built by Arduino enthusiasts [mention Homecamp community]. - Top left: ambient orb, detects weather. - Bottom left: Botanicall, lets your plants tweet when they want to be watered (and thank-you afterwards). - Top and bottom right are basically the same thing, but with different use scenarios. Both detect entry and exit into the home, and tweet about what has happened. - Bottom right is for cats, so you know which of your pets (or those of your neighbours) have come into the house, so you know how much cat food to put out. - Top right is a burglar alarm, so you have the choice of calling the police or hiding in your room with a baseball bat. - But these have still been made by enthusiasts; we interested in what people who don’t necessarily alrady know about this stuff will make, based around their own personal experience of their homes. - [Details of being paired with experts who will support but not lead them]
- [etc] - [Something on EDF’s interest?]
- Homesense is about making sense of our home, to be able to build beautiful and personal and functional smart homes.
Homesense @ La Cantine
Maison rêvée, maison hantée Maisons et intelligence Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino @home_sense @tinkerlondon
A propos de Tinker Nous concevons des produits et espaces interactifs qui établissent un lien entre le monde réel et numériques. Nous enseignons l’usage des technologies open source pour leur permettre de comprendre les enjeux technologiques à venir. Nous explorons les nouveaux usages de technologies nouvelles et faisons de la recherche de manière ouverte .
A propos de Tinker Nous sommes une petite équipe de designers, ingénieurs et chercheurs . Nous sommes basés à Londres. Nous avons un studio qui fait du dévelopement de produits à Milan www.tinker.it.
Pourquoi ca ne marche pas? Les maisons ont des usagers différents, avec des besoins différents et des compétences différentes. Les “maisons intelligentes” ont été concues d’une manière très “top-down” avec des scénarios d’usages très fermés et des technologies qui requièrent un redesign complet.
Maison intelligente DIY? Projet Homesense Au lieu de repenser votre habitat pour vous, on vous aide à adapter, concevoir et construire votre maison intelligente, chez vous.
How will it work? 6 maison en Europe, chacune associée à un expert Arduino, et ayant accès à leur propre ResearchKit. Recherche ouverte: tout sera publié sous une licence Creative Commons Partenariat entre Tinker London et EDF R&D.
Exploration Comment vraiment concevoir de l’intelligence à la maison qui nous convient. Comment les gens vont-ils vouloir utiliser les ressources qu’on leur donne. Comment utiliser un modèle de recherche ouverte et s’engager auprès de communautés virtuelles.