Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Master's Project Abstract

HomeNet started with the Ideas I first wrote about a year ago when I was writing the first draft of my Thesis abstract:

Enabling Walls to Talk

Today, computers can be found in items we use everyday like our cars, coffee maker and toys but we have yet to truly integrate them into the buildings we create. Currently, the systems we use are an afterthought, a mess of wires running through walls back to a central computer. I propose that by using modular/prefab construction, a micro controller, a cheap single chip computer, can be integrated into every piece of building and joined together during assembly on site to create a distributed computer network that wraps around the building. This network will consolidate existing control systems like security systems and thermostat controls into a single unified system that creates a foundation for a whole new generation of integrated devices. This way, inputs like light switches and security sensors are programmed rather than hard wired to outputs like lights, shades, locks and other actuators, creating a very flexible environment.

I will build a prototype of such a system with the goal of patenting it and study how our interaction with our built environment changes. I will look at what happens when our buildings can interact with us with the same tools we use everyday like the internet, email, Facebook and Twitter. Users will be able to gain finite control over their surroundings and be better informed about their environmental impact.

Will being aware of what going inside our walls make us change the way live for the better?

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