CeBIT 2011: Connected Living Exhibits Smart Home Technologies
Connected Living, an association of 40 smart service manufacturers and service providers, exhibited a mock smart home at this year's CeBIT. The "house" is divided into three rooms: one for the whole family, one for just kids and one for those who are maritally single.
The family section is a typical living room configuration plus an exercise bike that connects wirelessly to the TV, enabling a social exercise program in which users may virtually bike routes anywhere in the world using Google maps, and compare times with friends or their previous best. Pictures and descriptions of landmarks along the route display automatically while exercising. The system is also capable of reading bar codes on certain food labels by simply taking a picture of what you eat. The system then displays and records all nutrition information for the day. Controller-free social games may also be played with a Microsoft "Kinect" motion sensor below the TV.
In the nearby kitchen, a touch screen interface monitors the status and energy consumption of appliances such as the cook stove. Temperature values are displayed alongside kilowatt-hour readings. Any appliance is compatible with the system thanks to inline adapters for electric plugs, which transmit the energy consumption of any device. The system then recognizes that device and begins tracking. Each appliance can be programmed to activate only when electricity prices reach a certain threshold, saving the end-user money. This functionality is available from any touchscreen in the house, as well as an iPad app.
In the kids' room, a learning game displays on the TV, which is attached to a step-on playing pad. The pad sits on the floor and looks like an oversize numeric keyboard for a typical phone. Trivia questions are displayed onscreen, and children answer by tapping out words or numbers with their feet.
The single room boasts much of the same functionality as the family room, but is streamlined for the reduction in space. No advanced appliance monitoring is necessary, but the user still has access to energy optimization and--using only the control panel beside the bed--may turn on or off any device in the room to conserve energy. Temperature and connected devices may also be controlled at distance via an iPhone app.
Connect Living member companies include Alcatel-Lucent, BodyTel, Cisco, Deutsche Messe, Qualcomm, Deutsche Telekom and many others. The mock home is located inside the tempting, computing gaming-related Hall 19.