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Home automation is truly a smart idea. It systematically performs tasks at specific times throughout the day. As an example, every night at 11 pm, a subsystem processor, can automatically regulate locking all the doors in the house, set the alarm so that we get up for work on time, turn off all the interior lights, turn on the exterior lights and lower the thermostat. It is unfailing in its duties and frees us from having to physically do these chores. At one time, smart home automation software was an expensive undertaking, ut little by little, improved technology and competition is making it an option for everyone.

An investment in a home automation system means an eventual savings in energy, and immediate improvements in lifestyle. An added benefit is that low-cost smart gadgets, such as iPhones, iTouch and iPad devices Offer control over the system with no additional investment in costly control panels, as once was the case. However, an area of smart technology which is lagging behind concerns smaller, household appliances, such as refrigerators, cookers and ovens, lothes washers and dryers. Not only are they still very expensive, it is also doubtful that their capacities meet consumer needs.

To become truly smart, many of these products will have to be re-adapted in design and function. Lees begin with kitchen appliances, with the example of a typical smart refrigerator. It turns out to be quite costly and has a LCD touchscreen and a wireless connection to the Internet. It will show you a clock and news headlines. An additional feature is that if you have an item in your fridge, say jar of mayonaise, that needs replacing if you gently tap it, you can automatically add it to your electronic grocery list.

But, wouldn’t it be just as easy to type the name of the item into your iphone? So, a question comes to mind about how useful a touch-screen and WiFi can be on an appliance that was invented to keep food cold! Another example of a costly smart appliance currently on the market is an Internet-connected washer and dryer. You might be able to “start a load of laundry while driving home from work”, but the machine cant load itself. It has to be manually filled with dirty clothes just like a regular model, so somebody has to be on the spot to do that part of the job.

In these cases, smart is not practical and the smart application on these appliances is misguided and not worth the extra expense. We asked consumers about their preferences in a smart appliance and here is a typical response… ” The total performance of a smart appliance should be under my control, and not just the on/off function. In the kitchen, a smart fridge would be improved, if it could keep track of everything I put in it. While shopping at the supermarket, I could check my iphone, for example, to see if am out of mustard.

When dinner is being prepared, it would be a great help if the smart cooker could ‘know’ when the sauce that has been simmering on the back burner, is ready- and then shut off the burner by itself. ” Unfortunately, none of the smart gadgets on the market today are intelligent enough to do that. Part of the problem is that the food, pots, and clothes that interact with the appliances don’t have any sort of electronic intelligence embedded in them. How could this be remedied? Radio-frequency identification tags are a possible solution.

RFID tags are tiny electronic devices, smaller than a grain of rice. They would make smart home appliances a feasible solution because they electronically store information, which can receive a specific signal and automatically transmit a specific reply. In practical use, a refrigerator capable of keeping track of its contents would only work if every item placed in the fridge was implanted with such a tag. It could tell my smart fridge what was in every container. An additional sensor would enable every shelf in the fridge o record the weight of each item.

This would let the fridge determine that a jar was getting low on mustard, for example, and then text me when I’m shopping at the supermarket. For the cooker, adding RFID and weight sensors to the burner plates would make it smarter. If all saucepans were RFID tagged, a cooker would know how much each pot weighed when empty. Then, it could identify changes in the weight of a food while it Was cooking. As liquid evaporated and weight decreased , the cooker could sense exactly when the food was done and then turn off the burner.

When washing and drying clothes, if clothing were radio- tagged, it would not be necessary to physically set the cycle control on the washing machine. It would know when to use hot water for whites and cooler temperatures for delicate fabrics. Of course, the physical loading of the machine and then sorting and folding the clean clothes has to be done by humans. The only way to automate that part of the task would be to equip the washer with robotics. If the washer came equipped with an electronic, smart arm that could load itself, and the dryer ame with another arm that could fold all the clothes, that would make the appliances really smart.

And, considering the many hours of folding time it would save the consumer, paying more for that kind of intelligence might be worth it. In conclusion, as they have not yet reached this level in design and utility, truly smart home appliances might be a long time in coming. They require a kind of overall intelligence support that is not yet accessible.

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