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May 28, 2013

Home Tweet Home: A House with Its Own Voice on Twitter

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By Rachel Metz, Technology Review

It’s fast becoming cheaper and easier to connect all kinds of traditionally unconnected devices to the Internet, and doing so can increase their functionality. At first glance, you’d never guess there’s anything unusual about Tom Coates’s San Francisco home. Nestled at the end of a narrow passageway on a side street, it’s a peaceful, sunny house decorated with modern furniture and bright posters that say things like “Machines help us work” and “Make your own path.” But take a closer look at, say, the ficus tree in the corner of the living room and you’ll notice something odd: a sensor, sticking out of the dirt, that’s connected to a little box. The sensor monitors the plant’s moisture, and the box transmits readings wirelessly to the Internet; it is just one of numerous Internet-connected devices in Coates’s home, which help keep an eye on everything from how warm it is to whether someone is currently in the living room.

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