FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

The Smart Houses Down Under

It sounds like something from an old world's fair exhibit, but the the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia, has come up with a self-cleaning, self-maintaining house. Called the "Nanohouse," this abode features nanotech windows that clean themselves (with a film that breaks down organic particles) and that can be made opaque for privacy. The same nanotechnology can be used to create stain-resistant fabrics.

More information is available at the Nanohouse website (unfortunately, much of it is in the form of very large downloads).

Over in Melbourne, software company Majitek is building a rival house, the MajikHouse, which is fully networked. Lights, entertainment devices and the security system can all be controlled by a single remote. The lights automatically brighten when someone enters a room, and dim when the room is empty. A mobile phone can be used to open doors and gates, and light outside lights, for safe entry at night. Sun Microsystems is supporting the project, and Majitek is using open source software wherever possible.

Perhaps most significant, all the technology used in the Nanohouse and MajikHouse is commercially available.

Looks like George Jetson will want to move Down Under pretty soon...