Slowly but surely, devices like Philips Hue bulbs and the Nest thermostat are making our homes smarter. But just how smart can they get? To find out, Intel has created the Smart Tiny House, which explores the future of the connected home by packing a host of smart tech into a 210 sq ft (20 sq m) "living lab."
Ultimately, Intel says it sees a world where people's homes communicate seamlessly with their cars, and their neighborhoods communicate with a whole smart city network. To achieve that, though, it first needs to understand just what is possible in the connected home and to what extent it can be integrated with all of the other connected devices available.
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The Smart Tiny Home has been created as a living lab to explore just these issues. Intel says it is "not designed as a utopian showcase," but instead as an experiment that will evolve over the next 12 to 18 months.
The home is based on Intel's Smart Home Development Acceleration Platform, which has been developed as a means to connect smart devices and to overcome interoperability issues that arise between such devices, technology platforms and third-party service providers. Quite how this is reconciled with Intel's assertion that the kit is "optimized for Intel processors," however, is unclear.
The key features of the house are controlled and monitored from a tablet via an app that allows users to turn on the lights, control door locks, set the temperature and more. It's also possible to control the house using voice commands, such as "hey computer, lights on" or "hey computer, lights red."
Access to the house is provided by way of facial recognition. There is a camera next to the main entry door running Intel's True Key technology and this allows users to simply look into the camera for the door to be unlocked. With True Key it is also possible for a user to see who is at their door via a mobile app when they are not at home and to unlock the door remotely.
Among the other smart features of the house are water leak sensors, which are designed minimize the cost and damage caused by leaks. The sensors are place underneath sinks or in other places where leaks are most likely to occur and, in the event of detection, send an alert to the user's smart home app.
It's also possible to integrate the smart lights with the water leak sensors and have them flash or turn a certain color if a leak is detected. Lighting color or brightness can, of course, be easily selected during typical day-to-day use.
The Smart Tiny House was unveiled earlier this month. The Smart Home Development Acceleration Platform is showcased in the home and will be available from the first quarter of 2016.
The video below provides a tour of the Smart Tiny House.