Last week at the Aware Home presentation I brainstormed a number of ideas that I thought might make for a happier, healthier home. My first idea promotes sustainability by encouraging reduced water usage. My second idea falls under the category of enabling “aging in place”. Finally, my third idea promotes keeping one’s living space cleaner.
- In an effort to get household members to use less water, devise a game around using the faucet or perhaps provide some form of ambient feedback. My original idea for this was that it is possible to track how long a faucet is running using potentiometers, and so design a game or ambient display around that. However, as I learned at the Aware Home Seminar last Friday, a previous project had sensors for actually measuring the amount of water used, so reading off them could allow for a more accurate portrayal of water usage. Right at the moment I’m not sure how one would design a game around such a system, but in terms of ambient feedback something as simple as a light that gets brighter could be installed, or maybe a more complex display showing a virtual fish tank being emptied. Water measurements could be for the single instance of use or be based on a monthly target set by the user.
- Allow individuals with mobility issues to control basic household functions from the couch. For this idea I was thinking of creating a couch cover with a textile interface. The user could control basic functions like the lighting in the room, temperature, volume, or maybe even summon a personal robot, all from the arm of the couch.
- A cleaning game or visualization that uses the Microsoft Kinect to track which parts of a room the individual has cleaned. Just a simple system for tracking which parts of the room the individual has dusted. Ideally, the system would recognize different large objects (bookshelf, dresser, windows), mark them red on a screen, and then blue as the individual makes sweeping motions with their arms, hopefully with a duster in hand. This could motivate individuals by simply visualizing for them how much more of the room needs cleaning.