By Andrew Turner
My house is a robot. It thinks, reacts, predicts, and informs. Throughout
the day it lets me know how its inhabitants are doing and takes care of
all the little things I forget. If I’m worried that I left the front door open or that
the heater is turned up too high, I can view my house’s website or RSS feed
through a browser or my mobile phone.
In addition to making my life easier, my house is appliance interfaces, or whatever I want to create
concerned about saving the planet and my wallet. using the layout tools in Indigo. The Control Pages
intelligently control my heating and air conditioning very easy-to-use interface that’s accessible from
system according to when someone is home and anywhere in my house, or even at the office or when
where it’s coldest or hottest in the house. traveling, using my laptop or mobile phone.
The power my house wields is easy to implement. For controlling lamps and appliances, I use
In fact, I rent my house, so all of my additions, modi- a mixture of X10 ( x10.com) and Insteon (insteon.
fications, and alterations are temporary. They can net) control modules, available from places like
be pulled out tomorrow, and my house would revert smarthome.com or machomestore.com. These
to its boring, uninformed structure. modules plug into any 2- or 3-prong wall outlet
The central brain of the house is an Apple and have a unique serial number that Indigo uses
PowerMac running Perceptive Automation’s Indigo to address and control.
( perceptiveautomation.com). Indigo is a very powerful I also use a mix of AppleScript, Ruby, and Python
and configurable home automation application that scripts for additional intelligence. These scripts
allows me to register all my devices, sensors, and are fired off when I come home or leave, to do
scripts. Once I input the devices in my house, I can computer backups, start playing music through
control them using the provided user interface, or my Squeezebox/SlimServer, or pull down traffic
I can create customizable, dynamic “Control Pages” information and display it on my Nabaztag,
using my Mac’s web server. These web pages can be a a wi-fi-enabled, programmable, electronic rabbit
layout of my house, security camera and status, virtual ( nabaztag.com).
Photography by Greg Ruffing
72 Make: Volume 10