Technology and the Automated Home (almost)

In the future, the humans will have developed technologies so they no longer need to concern themselves with the trivial, menial tasks that dominated the lives of their parents generation.  Or so TV shows and films like The Jetsons, and Wall E would have us believe.  

And to be fair to them we’re not actually that far off… 

The idea of the technologically integrated home has been around for a long time, Le Corbusier described his Machine for living (Une maison est une machine-à-habiter.) back in 1923. 

Heidi Weber Museum – Le Corbusier

As it stands the domestic home is more the vessel in which the machines live, rather than the machine itself, but In recent years the Tomorrows World image of the house of the future is slowly beginning to take shape.  Especially with the idea of the internet of things.  The IoTs is a web of interconnected devices talking to each other and the internet, either passively or through automation.  

I’ve embraced the internet of things more than a lot of people I know, and I thought it might be interesting to go through the ways I have integrated these technologies into my life, with the view of working out if I am really living the dream life of the human unencumbered by the tedious domestic chores.

Entertainment is at the centre of the internet of things in my house, and My iPhone 5s is the device controlling the network. My iPhone, through it’s connection to my wireless home network can control my Smart Sony Bravia TV, SKY HD box, Apple TV, and AirPlay Music.    

Through my iPhone I can control the internet of things in my home.  I can control what I watch on TV, Films or Series via Netflix on Apple TV, SKY HD, Youtube, or iTunes.  I can stream radio, video, and photographs from my phone or Macbook Pro directly to the TV or audio system. 

TV Sideview App from Sony on IOS

Apple Remote App on IOS

Recently I have installed wirelessly connected switches in my house, and through the connection to my iPhone, I am able to remotely turn on and off whatever device is connected to them.  Also attached to the network is a wireless motion detector. 

 Belkin WeMo app for IOS.  Rules. 

The WeMo Switch can be programmed with rules, to react to the motion detector, or to automatically turn on and off at set times or at dawn and dusk. 

In addition to the built in rules within the Belkin app, you can set up rules with the internet automation service IFTTT.  With this you can link the wireless switch to a number of internet services, like Gmail, Evernote, IOS, Twitter, Facebook etc. 

With the entertainment, lighting, and frivolous electronic automation taken care off, it just falls to the domestic chores to be undertaken. 

Time for the Robot! 

I have an iRobot Roomba, which I have to say has revolutionised my life! No more Sunday mornings spent pushing heavy hoovers round the house! Just power up the Roomba and let it get on vacuuming the floor until it finishes the job, and takes itself back to its home dock.   This frees up my time to… well… enjoy my home entertainment! 

The internet of things extends beyond the domestic and into the home work life.  I have an HP Envy wireless printer, and NAS drive linked to my Airport Extreme Router, Through this hub I can print wirelessly from my Macbook Pro, or even directly from my iPhone.  The NAS drive is a Seagate 2TB hard drive partitioned to be a backup disk for the Macbook, as well as storage for digital media. 

 Wireless Home Office

I think that a very exciting development in the growing IoTs is Google’s recent purchase of NEST  and the British Gas HIVE thermostat.  These devices are starting to really integrate the internet into the running of the home. This is definitely where I would like to go next with my home building management.  

There is still a long way to go before we are living in the Jetson’s world of tomorrow, and until they can automate dusting, or making the bed, humans are still a long way from being set free from the constraints of domestic work.  At the moment it’s the entertainment side of my home that is truly integrated, with the smart building management and domestic work still lagging behind.  

I’m really excited about the future of the connected home, and can’t wait to integrate more robots, and wearables into the mix! 


Posted by ModulorMan

Cove Cottage Heysham Update

Just posting a few photos of the Cove Cottage renovation.

A reminder of before…

…the vision…

…the work in progress…


It’s very pleasing to see the project come on… 

2012 – A Year in Black and White..

Mid way in 2012 I was kindly given a classic Olympus OM1-N 35mm SLR. This has been a revelation and made me pine for the old, sadly missed, Nikon FM2 I had for a while at Uni, before it was robbed!

The quality of the camera and standard 50mm lens makes the modern cameras I’ve come into contact with seem very plasticy and a bit cumbersome.

I decided that I would use this camera for taking purely black and white art photographs, and leave digital for taking snaps.

It has been a steep learning curve, getting to grips with a fully manual camera after so long in the auto focus world of Digital.  The first film I took was at a friend’s wedding… unfortunatly this film was spoilt and I very quickly re-aquainted with one drawback of film!

This is a review of some of the pictures I have taken over the course of the year.

May saw us enjoy THE week of British summer in Westward Ho! Devon.

Throughout the year I have been regularly travelling from the west Midlands to where I grew up in Nottingham. I’ve been visiting the Nottingham Contemporary Art gallery, which is really growing on me as a building.

I always spend a lot of time in Birmingham New Street. Especially Platform 11!.
September saw me at Sheffield Tramlines Festival, The B/W gives the shots something of a woodstock vibe!

In contrast to the excess of tramlines, September also saw another friend’s Wedding, with some very sweet flower girls.

In November I was in Paris. The first time I have visited the city, and I was really impressed. There is a great sence of contrast, between glamour and Decay.

There are always Photographic oportunities on my doorstep in Birmingham.  It’s a great city!