[Ubicomp] Japanese Smart Home


Sounds very interesting. Of course, the real question is how well it works in practice, and what happens when inevitable errors arise. Though I have to admit I really like the auto-beer application.

# No keys are required to unlock the front door. Instead, the house relies on a fingerprint scanner to identify the person who wants to open the door. In a personal touch, the fingerprint data can also be sent to Aibo, which can perform a unique "welcome dance" to greet different members of the family.

# No more waiting at home for the delivery of a parcel. A box for parcels is located just outside the front door. A family member can check on the arrival of package using a cell phone and open the box remotely.The box is able to recognize the identification of the delivery and issues a signed receipt to the deliverer.

# Everything from opening curtains to turning on lights or the air conditioner can be controlled from the plasma-display television in the living room using a single remote control.

# The house never runs out of beer. When there are only three cans of beer left in the refrigerator, an e-mail order for more will be sent to a store. The house can also order more rice -- an important daily staple in Japan. A censor attached to a rice container detects when rice is running low and automatically orders a new bag via e-mail.

# The garden is equipped with a cell phone-controlled system that waters plants and feeds pets, allowing family members to take care of plants and pets while away on vacation or out shopping.

# For elderly family members, the house incorporates censors to monitor health conditions in a specially modified bed. When the censor detects something unusual, such as an irregular heartbeat or breathing cycle, it automatically sends a message to other family members' cell phones.

# On the balcony, a clothesline monitors changes of weather. When it starts raining, it automatically pulls a covering sheet over clothes that have been hung out to dry.

# Each room in the house includes a hands-free speaker/microphone with voice-recognition capabilities that allows family members to stay in contact. For example, instead of a mother having to yell for the kids when dinner is ready, the system can make a phone call or send e-mail using a voice command.

# The house can learn and adapt to the habits of each family member. For example, if one family member often goes to the bathroom in the middle of the night, the system is able to adapt to this habit. When the person gets up from bed, the house automatically warms up the toilet seat and lights up the way to the bathroom. The house will also turn the toilet-seat heater and lights off as the person is going back to the bedroom.


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