Tampere University of Technology

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Technologies enabling smart homes

Research output: Collection of articlesDoctoral Thesis

Details

Original languageEnglish
PublisherTampere University of Technology
StatePublished - 2009
Publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)

Publication series

NameTampereen teknillinen yliopisto. Julkaisu
PublisherTampere University of Technology
Volume846

Abstract

Rapid advances in electronics integration, miniaturisation and processing power have brought about a noticeable increase in computing and electronic devices that now surround us in our daily lives. We use computers and processors every day even without noticing it, starting from the moment we turn on the lights in the morning, use the microwave, make a phone call or get into our car. The ever-increasing number of devices also inevitably brings new kinds of functionality, user interfaces, functions and increased complexity, which is something we have to cope with. Often, however, there are situations where we do not understand or remember how certain actions (e.g. installing new devices, changing configuration, setting up home networks) are performed. This can cause frustration, technophobia, or reluctance to use the advanced functions of electronic devices. In a home environment filled with automation, appliances, home entertainment, PDAs, laptops, mobile phones and computers, there is already now a plethora of devices we must learn to use and maintain in our daily routines. Despite convergence and the integration of functions, it is likely that the number and complexity of such devices will continue to increase. For the future home a few years from now this increase in electronic devices raises certain issues: how will these devices work together, how can they all be interconnected to enable more intuitive control of the future home and what possibilities would such a home offer its occupants. The smart home is a concept that promises improved ways to control functions in the home, flexible networks that can connect to any device, adaptive control facilities and peace of mind for its occupants. This is the goal, but how can it be achieved using present technology? The key elements to achieve this are intuitive, flexible user interfaces and device compatibility. Three different smart home research environments were constructed to investigate these issues: the Living Room, the Smart Home and the eHome. This thesis discusses the design, implementation, development and findings of these projects with brief mention of related smart home projects and technologies. The research was conducted between 1999 and 2009 at the Department of Electronics. The focus is thus on hardware design and implementation, communications, user interface prototypes and home networks; each of these topics is presented in a separate respective chapter. In order to obtain results from authentic life situations, these systems have all been built and implemented in real environments and later tested and evaluated by various test persons. The findings of the study are presented and discussed, with some conclusions on the future of the smart home.

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