Article By: Arthur C. Clarke
What Is A Smart House?
A smart home is a collection of or a networked system of 'intelligent' appliances fitted into
a home to
provide the inhabitant a healthy, happy, safe, and a better lifestyle. It performs many tasks automatically to
reduce the load and stress of managing the house. This is achieved through complex networking of
individual devices connected to a cent
ral computer unit. Devices can be controlled alone or in groups. A
central station can operate the devices that are located inside and outside the house. Inter
operability is the
term used to describe the ability for different devices to work together such
as the security system,
windows, lights, doors and the telephone system. For example, if the motion detectors pick up suspicious
movement on your lawn, when you are away on a vacation, the security system turns the lights and TV
switches on and off to mak
e it appear like the house is occupied and it also automatically dials the local
police department and relays a 911 call to dispatch a police car to the house if further investigation is
needed . The manufacturers built easy
use interfaces that are cust
omized to each individual member of
the household. It is designed so that the user does not have to worry about its complex workings.
The idea of constructing or renovating homes to smart homes was originally conceived for the aged and
bled. It was meant to provide them with a more comfortable living atmosphere in their own homes. For
example, in the United Kingdom engineers built special homes for old people suffering from dementia.
This is a disease similar to the Alzheimer's disease.
One of its symptoms is forgetfulness. So, the house is
built with sensors that turn off the water that has been turned on for a long time and warns the resident by a
voice message. The cooker is switched off when the pan boils dry. The bed also has a senso
r that knows
when the person gets up in the middle of the night. It turns the bedroom light on automatically and then
turns on the other lights as he moves through the house. The house also has a key pad system which allows
the individual to press a button
next to a picture of a key, purse or glasses and sets off a beeper to help
locate the object. Today's technology is sufficiently advanced to enhance the lifestyle of everyone, from the
busy executive to the frail older person. These prototype smart houses
for the old and disabled were so well
received that the engineers started developing more 'intelligent' devices to suit the needs of a typical
To a degree, smart houses serve the same overall functions as an ordinary house. Howe
ver, they are
adapted to out
perform traditional houses to make it more efficient and personalized to one's needs. Smart
houses need not be created from scratch. Existent homes can be slightly modified and retro
smart devices to create a smart
home. Some of the features that make a home smart include :
Safety & Security
If there is a fire, an automated house will detect it, turn off the gas, close the dampers in the ventilation
system, turn on the lights, unlock the doors, set off an alarm,
and call the fire department. More advanced
systems might even tell you where the fire is and through which room you should escape. In case of an
intruder, a triggered motion detector can turn on floodlights in the yard and instruct your stereo to queue u
the sound of a barking dog. In the case of unwelcome guests, mounting a video camera at the front door,
you can view visitors on a TV screen. If the caller is someone with a clipboard, you might skip that trip to
the door. But if it's a friend, you coul
d tap a couple of buttons on the remote control, unlock the door, and
welcome him in
With home automation, room
room temperature control becomes a reality. You can warm up the master
bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom in the morning b
efore the alarm goes off. Or you can program it to keep
the nursery at a constant temperature. In mid
summer, you can even instruct sensors in the house to open
skylights, turn on ceiling fans, and close the draperies when the house reaches a certain tempe
During the night the electricity can be used to make ice, that can be stored in insulated tanks. During the
cold water is circulated through the conduits in the walls of the home. Water heaters are also much
more energy efficient. Energy
is conserved by heating the water just before dawn and shuts off at night.
Washing machines and dishwashers can communicate directly with the water heater, telling it to release
only enough hot water for a specific wash cycle.
In areas where electric ut
ilities charge a premium during peak demand time, appliances may decide among
themselves when each should draw electrical current. These options can be chosen by the consumer. Solar
panels can be used to provide part of the total energy required. There i
s a 20% to 40% savings in energy
costs by using efficient home control system.
You can program your house to do certain things at different times of the day or for different scenarios. A
up mode," for instance, might turn off the sec
urity alarm, turn on the kitchen lights, turn up the
furnace, heat water, and start the coffee pot. A "relax mode" might allow you, with the flip of a switch, to
dim the lights and shutters, play soft music, and light the fireplace And an "unoccupied mode"
will arm the
security system and randomly turn lights on and off in different rooms. All of these functions can be
controlled while in the house, or remotely from a touch
tone phone or computer and modem. Intelligent
refrigerators' are internet capable de
vices that can check your supply of groceries and reorder and have
them delivered to your front porch without much assistance. The homeowner of course has the option to
choose otherwise but some of the most frequently purchased food items can be automated
Robotic lawn mowers will cut grass within a specified boundary, while avoiding obstacles such as bushes
and children's playthings. This is a useful tool for those who have a hectic lifestyle or lazy but still want a
picture perfect front/back lawn. Ho
me automation also provides advantages for new parents. Instead of
checking on a sleeping baby every 15 minutes, a voice
activated video camera can be installed in the
nursery. When the baby starts to cry, the camera goes on and the baby's face appears on
a television screen
or on another nearby monitor. There are appliances that perform regular self
diagnostics and tell you what,
if anything, is wrong with them, and outdoor sprinkler systems that water only when they detect that the
grass is 'thirsty'. Bet
ter home automation systems even offer back
up power, so you don't have to reprogram
the entire house after an energy failure.
Future of Smart Houses
Designing smart houses takes time as one must evaluate the inhabitant's specific needs. Having devices
just for the fun of it could cost the consumer a lot of money. A good practice is to think ahead and select
the products that fit your need and those which allow for future improvements or upgrades as new products
that are useful to you come in to the mar
ket. Scientists and engineers have theorized a new technology
called nanoplastics. Nanoplastics are a theoretical fusion of traditional plastics and the developing field of
nanotechnology, in which microscopic machines and other objects are constructed ato
m by atom. Charles
Owen, a professor at Illinois Institute of Technology and his team have come up with some hypothetical
applications for nanoplastics in the home of the future. In their vision, traditional bowls and dishes are not
necessary. At the user’
s request, a food ware senses the presence of food and forms itself up from the
countertop into suitable dish shapes for preparing, cooking or serving. This bowl can either keep the food
hot or cold eliminating the need for microwaves or the refrigerators.
The dining tables can raise or lower on
command for appropriate setting to the individual. Similarly, the chairs can 'grow' themselves to the
contours of the person sitting on them, matching their individual ergonomic needs.
1. Describe what
a Smart House is.
2. In the United Kingdom who did they build these special houses for and for what reason?
3. Give four examples on what these smart houses can do that other regular houses can.
4. If there is a fire, what does the house do to secure your
5. If there is like a movement in your lawn, when you on a vacation, what does the house do to secure itself
6. What’s so different about the refrigerators in these smart houses?
7. Describe the technology that’s in the bedrooms.
w does the house conserve energy?
9. What modes can you set the smart house to?
10. What is a nanoplastic?