To some, a smart home means greater energy efficiency — like appliances that respond to time-of-day pricing or motorized curtains that shut on hot days. To others, it’s whimsy — like waterproof speakers that blast “Immigrant Song” while propane torches ignite along the roofline. Either way, it’s cheaper and easier now to build the kind of smart, reliable home automation that has been promised for decades. New wireless protocols and cellphone-based interfaces make such installations extremely flexible. And by experimenting with next-gen technologies like gesture-based control and bio-engineered materials, you can turn your home into a research center that explores the technological limits of how easy, efficient, and fun your life can be.
Bob Parks is a frequent contributor to MAKE, Runner’s World, and Wired magazines. He lives in Vermont with his wife
and two children. Online, he can be reached at xbobparksx.com.
40 Make: makezine.com/30