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Smart home can learn from, text residents

interhomeThe UK can now boast it’s created the first home that can learn from its inhabitants and even take action and send text messages if it’s being burgled or a door has been left unlocked.

Unveiled in Cairo, Egypt, this week, InterHome was developed by researchers at the University of Hertfordshire. The structure incorporates modular custom design units and draws on standard home automation systems which have been adapted so that the house “learns” and “adapts” to its users’ lifestyles.

The home makes its debut at the finals of the Microsoft Imagine Cup being held in Cairo from 3 – 7 July.

The prototype of the home, developed in a doll’s house, integrates embedded devices with the industry-standard X10, which provides convenience and security to homeowners and also enables them to reduce energy, saving up to £300 a year and reducing greenhouse emissions.

InterHome incorporates an intuitive touch-screen user control panel that also allows the house to be monitored and controlled using Web browsers, windows mobile and any SMS-capable mobile phone.

“InterHome improves on its competitors by being modular, adaptable and able to ‘learn’ our routines,” said Johann Siau, senior lecturer at the University’s School of Electronic, Communication & Electrical Engineering. “The technology enables the system to learn rapidly when we need the lights on or whether we are at home or at work and how the house needs to be at certain times of the day. If we forget to lock the front door or turn off the lights, it can text us and our response can reprogramme the system.”

Through this approach, InterHome can eradicate wasted energy within UK homes and make a difference to CO2 emission statistics when installed in enough houses, according to the research team.

The prototype is now ready to be adopted by industry. The team led by Siau has already been approached by several companies.

“The Imagine Cup world-wide final sees 400 of the smartest technical students from across the world compete head-to-head for the coveted trophy,” said Andrew Sithers, academic relations manager for Microsoft UK. “I’m delighted that Hertfordshire will be representing the UK at this event. Their Intelligent Home project demonstrates how innovations in software and hardware can be combined to produce a highly flexible integrated solution that has great go-to-market potential.”

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