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Google's Android Ambitions Go Beyond Mobile 174

Posted by Soulskill
from the my-toaster-runs-gingerbread dept.
PolygamousRanchKid writes "Android has become the top smartphone operating system in the United States, but Google's ambitions for it go well beyond tablet computers and smartphones, even beyond the mobile Web. Now Google says Android can also become the first mass-market bridge between the virtual world and the physical world, allowing smartphone apps to control light bulbs and home medical devices. Hoping to spark a wave of creativity similar to what Apple started when it opened the iPhone app store, Google distributed hundreds of circuitry kits to developers at last month's I/O conference. The Android Open Accessory Development Kit (ADK) allows Android's software to operate and communicate with motors, sensors, controllers and relays, allowing developers to create an interface in which a smartphone app could control or collect data from a thermostat, a lawn irrigation system or a group of lighting fixtures. 'The opportunity exists to dramatically change how you control your home,' said Tom Benton of Lighting Science. Over time, 'we're talking about the elimination of the wall switch.'"
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Google's Android Ambitions Go Beyond Mobile

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  • X10 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Otherwise known as the X10 system...

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Monday June 13, 2011 @03:41PM (#36428792) Journal

    Apple's not far behind. Plans are already in the works for the iDildo. Mobile orgasms... there's an app for that!

  • No we are not. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday June 13, 2011 @03:42PM (#36428804) Homepage Journal

    People will still want a way to turn on and off devices that do not require you to find a remote. Maybe the wall switch will be part of the network but they will still be there.
    When I go to bed at night I put my cell on the charger. I do not want to have to take my cell or my remote with me to the bathroom to turn on the light. I do not want them to be automatic because I want to go into the bathroom and then turn on the light so I do not wake up my wife.

    • by vlm (69642)

      I do not want them to be automatic because I want to go into the bathroom and then turn on the light so I do not wake up my wife.

      You can automate this with misterhouse using 90s technology. The 00s technology insteon is just like the ancient X10 stuff except its reliable, the address space is huge, and its about twice the cost. I found the upgrade from X10 to insteon some years ago to be worth it, your mileage may vary.

      I don' t have the perl code handy but it boils down to when you get the trigger for door closing, turn the light up at 25% illumination if during "sleep hours" or 100% during the day. Also the fan. The door opening

      • by MikeDirnt69 (1105185) on Monday June 13, 2011 @04:13PM (#36429172) Homepage
        Are your doors Self-Satisfied?
        • by vlm (69642)

          Are your doors Self-Satisfied?

          If you're thinking of threads that block, from what I remember misterhouse was always more of a "poll, then sleep awhile, repeat" kinda architecture.

          Even in ye-olden-days PCs are just so darn fast compared to the X-10 or modern insteon commands that fancy RTOS and threaded designs just aren't necessary. A rather brutal and simplistic polling loop is the "best" way.

          I suppose if every individual lightbulb on my future christmas tree gets its own ipv6 address, that architecture is going to have to change..

          If

    • While there may always be a desire for manual override, you could conceivably program a lot of this sort of thing. You could have rules like "when someone detected entering ensuite bathroom, if bedroom lights are out and it's after sunset then slowly ramp up lights to 20% else bring up lights to 100%"

    • by Timmmm (636430)

      I'm pretty sure they aren't planning on removing standard light switches. Only an idiot would think that.

      • by Teun (17872)
        Oh?

        Have you had a count of the number of switches on modern TV's or set-top boxes?

      • by LWATCDR (28044)

        Did you miss "The end of the light switch statment?"

      • by ganjadude (952775)
        I felt the same way when I saw that everything from apple has no buttons or a single button....
        • I felt the same way when I saw that everything from apple has no buttons or a single button....

          I suppose you want toggle switches for individual memory addresses?

    • No one says you can't get up and say "lights on" or have a proximity sensor light your way as you stumble through the house.

      I think that Google needs more revenue, so their shiny new hammer needs fresh nails. OTOH, someone needs to get the methodology evolved sufficiently so that others will think of intelligent ways to compete with it for fun and profit.

      As far as the hacks go, well, maybe pico networks with tiny or captive transmission systems can do bluetooth-like things to a house net for those that want

    • if the lights are out, how do I find my cell phone to turn them on.

    • by Alarash (746254)
      Additionally to the valid points raised by the parent, I also don't want to have to leave my lights on because I ran out of battery or simply lost my phone.
    • by westyvw (653833)

      I dont want to wake anyone either, nor do I want to lose night vision, so I reach for my cell and it lights the way. No need to turn on lights.

    • by SnarfQuest (469614) on Monday June 13, 2011 @04:14PM (#36429178)

      The evening is getting intimate, and you want to dim the lights

      You: One moment honey *tap* *tap* *tap* *click* *tap* *tap* *tap* *tap* *tap* *tap*
      Her: What are you doing?
      You: Just a minute *tap* *tap* *click* *tap* *tap* *tap* *tap* *click* *tap* *tap* *tap*
      Her: Who are you texting?
      You: I'm just trying to ... tap* *click* *tap* tap* *click* *tap*
      Her: Well, I hope you're happier with her than you are with me. *slam*
      You: tap* *tap* *click* *tap* *tap* *tap* *tap* *click* *tap* *tap*
      Lights dim.
      You: Ok, where were we ....

    • by Snaller (147050)

      You don't take your smartphone with you in the toilet? What kind of weirdo are you?!

    • by Idbar (1034346)
      The GoogleTV has an IR remote control, and buttons in the lower-right corner of the front panel.

      I have an Android device that works as a remote control using the network.

      My question is: Why would the switch needs to go away if you can have both? Seems like some people think that when they loose the remote control, there's no way to turn ON or OFF a TV these days. Go figure, the TVs actually come with buttons and they do not require a remote to work!
    • Well, if the light does come on automatically, it probably means you're pissing in the refrigerator..

    • by feepness (543479)

      I do not want to have to take my cell or my remote with me to the bathroom to turn on the light. I do not want them to be automatic because I want to go into the bathroom and then turn on the light so I do not wake up my wife.

      I don't even know why we have a bottle!

  • Usurper (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Microlith (54737) on Monday June 13, 2011 @03:43PM (#36428812)

    Is this Google trying to usurp the successes had by the Arduino community and tie access to these peripherals to Android or something?

    'The opportunity exists to dramatically change how you control your home,' said Tom Benton of Lighting Science. Over time, 'we're talking about the elimination of the wall switch.'

    But I don't want to have to buy an Android device just to turn the lights on in my house :(

    • I think the ADK is shield-compatible with the Arduino platforms, am I right?

      Although I would still want a physical kill-switch for most of my stuff too. Maybe I don't feel like reaching over my head for my phone on the desk from my bed, and would rather lob a slipper at the switch to turn off the light :)
      Seriously, though: don't oversimplify, a wall switch will be perfectly fine along the remote-controlled AC relays. I think someone on hackaday already presented a system like this, except home-brewed. And m

    • by node 3 (115640)

      But I don't want to have to buy an Android device just to turn the lights on in my house :(

      Don't worry, you won't have to. In spite of the selective scope the author chose, iOS vastly outnumbers Android. There already exist X10 and Insteon apps for iOS, and even if there weren't, there's no way the masses are going to accept a future where turning on a light requires a personal Android device.

      The only story here (which is by no means new) is that Google has an expensive Arduino kit available as an official add-on to Android. I'm sure there will be thousands of tinkerers who will be quite happy ab

      • by GooberToo (74388)

        Don't worry, you won't have to. In spite of the selective scope the author chose, iOS vastly outnumbers Android.

        Wrong. Android officially passed iOS up this year.

        There already exist X10 and Insteon apps for iOS

        Doesn't matter which remote you use, X10 sucks. I don't know enough about Insteon to have an opinion but since its fully backward compatible with X10, it suggests it may also suck.

        I honestly can't get excited about this, regardless of which platform you're using to drive your Arduino project.

        • by node 3 (115640)

          Don't worry, you won't have to. In spite of the selective scope the author chose, iOS vastly outnumbers Android.

          Wrong. Android officially passed iOS up this year.

          You should get your news from non-fandroids. For over a year now, Slashdot headlines and summaries have been based on extremely cherry-picked data and deceptively worded to make it sound like Android is more widely used than iOS. This has led to countless slashdotters coming to false conclusions, like yours.

          Android recently shipped on its 100 millionth unit. iOS has recently shipped on its 200 millionth unit.

          There already exist X10 and Insteon apps for iOS

          Doesn't matter which remote you use, X10 sucks. I don't know enough about Insteon to have an opinion but since its fully backward compatible with X10, it suggests it may also suck.

          In other words, you don't have a valid opinion, but you'll have one anyway?

          Insteon addresses some of

      • by PCM2 (4486)

        The only story here (which is by no means new) is that Google has an expensive Arduino kit available as an official add-on to Android.

        No. What they have is a completely open reference prototyping platform for building Android accessories, which is based on Arduino. The Arduino platform is itself open, and Google has made every part of the ADK available free of charge under permissive open source licenses, right down to the schematics for the prototyping platform. A number of vendors manufacture the prototyping units, but you don't have to buy them. If you have the know-how, you could build the kit yourself from components. Also, any acces

        • by node 3 (115640)

          Just to be clear, are you trying to say Google isn't offering an expensive Arduino-based kit? Because they are. I never said you had to buy it from them.

          This is little more than Google "blessing" Arduino as Android's tech for controlling external devices and systems. Lots of nerds will have fun with this, and there will be some commercial products, but it's not going to really be an important feature for consumers.

          • by PCM2 (4486)

            Just to be clear, are you trying to say Google isn't offering an expensive Arduino-based kit? Because they are. I never said you had to buy it from them.

            Point me a link to it. The one they handed out for free at Google I/O was manufactured by a third party, a Japanese robotics and automation specialist that has since sold out [rt-net.jp] of its first run.

            Lots of nerds will have fun with this, and there will be some commercial products, but it's not going to really be an important feature for consumers.

            That's the nature of a development kit that includes prototyping hardware. It's for prototyping, for developers. Not only is it not going to be "an important feature" for consumers, the ADK is not aimed at consumers at all. It is the eventual Android Accessory-compatible devices that are developed using the ADK that wi

      • by rolfwind (528248)

        My thinking is that I don't want a remote control house from both security implications and simplicity.

        A switch just never breaks. With it's a simple interruptor switch, 3 way switch, or 4 way switch. Go into a 80 year house, and it's possible that you'll have the original switches (and outlets) in there if not wiring (which can go bad).

        However, I know from experience that anything electronic from ceiling fan controls (which are not of the hanging chain type), photovoltaic sensors, and motions sensor are

  • misterhouse (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vlm (69642) on Monday June 13, 2011 @03:44PM (#36428824)

    allowing developers to create an interface in which a smartphone app could control or collect data from a thermostat, a lawn irrigation system or a group of lighting fixtures.

    Welcome to misterhouse from the 90s? Everything old is new again!

    http://misterhouse.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]

    I have set this up, I can control my lights and stuff from my ipod touch web browser, and it is in fact a completely useless cool hack.

    I DO use misterhouse to automate the heck out of timing and some simple virtual timers (outside light shuts off X minutes after I turn it on) and also some virtual relay logic (basement stairs light controlled by position of basement door using the most hardware and software possible instead of a simple relay). Useful as that has been, "control the lights using the ipod" has been quite useless.

  • In the automotive industry, look at Ford. They are 'cooperating' [microsoft.com] with Microsoft. Given a choice, I'd rather have Android in my car as compared to any offers from Microsoft.

    • by mspohr (589790)
      My new car (not a Ford) came with Microsoft software which controls radio, cell phone and a bunch of other stuff like lights. It has voice input as well as a buttons (which are confusing). I haven't figured out exactly everything it is controlling but seems to be pervasive.

      As you would expect, it doesn't work very well or reliably.

      • by vlm (69642)

        My new car (not a Ford) came with Microsoft software ... As you would expect, it doesn't work very well or reliably.

        When is crashes, do you collect under "comprehensive" or "collision" car insurance?

        • by mspohr (589790)
          As you know, Microsoft will admit no liability and will not "insure" anything. All Microsoft crashes are your fault and you bear all expenses in cleaning up. Furthermore, no insurance company would dare to insure Microsoft software. My blue screen of death is orange.
    • More automotive engineers need to meet with the computer industry. Cars have always been "behind the times" when it comes to technology. Just look how long it took for AUX inputs to be come commonplace. We still don't have USB charging ports.
    • by colinnwn (677715)
      I drove a 2011 Ford Focus SES with Microsoft Sync. It was equal parts awesome and awesomely terrible. I wouldn't pay a penny for it as it wasn't a feature. The car, however, was really cool otherwise. And I'm not a fan of American cars.
  • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Monday June 13, 2011 @03:48PM (#36428862) Homepage

    "We're talking about the elimination of the wall switch."

    So if I forget my phone at work, I can't turn the lights on in my apartment? Brilliant!

    The idea of interfaces using the new Android stuff is interesting, but it seems like we'll get into another one of those situations where everyone defines their own standard (which they change when convenient) and nothing works well. The light bulbs in one room are GE bulbs which can't be controlled the by same software as the Sylvania bulbs, but that's OK because the new bulb uses different software than the old ones so I need a patch to the software for that. Look in a book for any home receiver or DVR and look at the HUNDREDS of codes used to control various AV equipment, even from a single manufacturer.

    I'll wait for some good standards to be ironed out and become dominant before jumping on this bandwagon. It never really happened in the TV space. Being able to look up a TV show on my iPhone in a guide program and push a button to tune to it would be nice, but that only works right now with some company's cable boxes and their app.

    Of course, do I really care if I can individually adjust every light (or anything else) in my house? I doubt I need that kind of control. We're going to go through that phase where people find out what's useful... and I'm not interested in being someone stuck with an something like the Android fridge Samsung has started advertising [engadget.com].

    • by vlm (69642)

      So if I forget my phone at work, I can't turn the lights on in my apartment? Brilliant!

      Even worse, dead battery means you can't turn on the lights to find the charger.

    • For what it's worth, there are already several open standards for lighting communication, including 0-10V [wikipedia.org] and DALI [wikipedia.org], and both have reasonably wide adoption. The consumer marketplace could well be controlled enough that a major manufacturer might be able to push a protected, patented, proprietary interface and give it some goofy name like Y11, but in the industrial lighting space -- and that includes outdoor, sign, and indoor in factories, warehouses, malls, government buildings, and sometimes even apartment

    • We're going to go through that phase where people find out what's useful..

      Except that we've been there before. A couple of times. Except for a few edge cases, geeks and people with too much disposable income, home automation hasn't really made it big time. And it won't for the reasons you mention - it's too complex for every day use, too fragile, too expensive and has too limited a rationale behind it.

      Now, if the rest of you would just get off our lawns, we'll just get out the manual sprinklers and wet the place down.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Monday June 13, 2011 @03:49PM (#36428870) Journal
    The goal is to replace the wall switch with a small panel that will contain "sponsored" ads.
  • Yawn. Won't work. It's a complicated solution to a simple problem. If I want to turn the light on in a room, why make it more complicated than flipping a switch on the wall? I suppose they could allow you to program all sorts of schedules and such... which can be done far easier with simple on/off/dim/brighten sensors.

    So the question is: What does this tech bring to the table that makes my life better or easier? Sounds to me like more tech for tech's sake, which is only good if you're selling the tech.

    • If I want to turn the light on in a room, why make it more complicated than flipping a switch on the wall?

      That's exactly what I said about TVs years ago. There was a perfectly good switch on the front of the TV so why would anyone want a stupid "clicker"?

      • by dzfoo (772245)

        Wow, how insightful. Would you mind telling me which additional functions can I have my light bulbs do that would be so much more convenient to do repeatedly from the couch.

        As far as I know, not many people use remote control "clickers" to just power their television sets on or off.

                dZ.

  • by Bieeanda (961632) on Monday June 13, 2011 @03:51PM (#36428896)
    "We're also hard at work bugging the Hell out of the ADK, so that your Android device phones us to deliver vitally handy information that we can use to make educated guesses about your lifestyle habits. Thermostats, duration and frequency of lights going on, and all of the other things that worry people about so-called smart utility meters add up to tons of demographic data that nobody will ever dream that they're divulging!"
    • by Teun (17872)
      Indeed, think of the bathroom switch, you know what's going to happen once Google finds out how long you stay in there?

      you'll get all kinds of targeted ads for air fresheners and toilet rolls!

    • by city (1189205)
      If it's a free service and saves me $ on the heat bill, I'll gladly divulge whatever utility meter data they want.
    • by daemonc (145175)

      so that your Android device phones us to deliver vitally handy information that we can use to make educated guesses about your lifestyle habits

      If only there were some way to look at the source code [android.com] for this Android operating system, so we could know for certain what information is being sent back to Google...

      • That works pretty well for Chrome/Chromium, doesn't it? If you don't run the official Google build (Chrome), then you don't get a number of the features (and tracking) that's in the closed bits of the source...
  • by boristdog (133725) on Monday June 13, 2011 @03:52PM (#36428912)

    I can cook a meal, change TV channels, adjust the AC, let the dog out and turn on the porch light all while sitting on the couch!

    I never have to move! This is truly the most wonderful thing. Standing up and walking around is so pre-21st century!

    Wha?

  • by slapout (93640)

    "we're talking about the elimination of the wall switch"

    I'm not going to have the lights on all night just because my tablet's battery is dead and I can't run the light app.

    • by Sloppy (14984)

      If all your other (wall-mounted, not battery-powered) control panels are dead because of lack of power, then your lights are going to be off anyway.

      Unless they're skylights and it's daytime. Now that would suck: it's daytime and the power's out and it's too bright, and you can't send the command to the electric motors to close the skylight shutters, not that the electric motors would work anyway. You'll have to get your ladder and climb up there and handcrank them closed .. but then it'll be too dark and

  • by w0mprat (1317953) on Monday June 13, 2011 @04:03PM (#36429044)
    Why? Because it would be effective enough to get stuff done with. Also some x86 Android builds I've tried are something like a 90mb ISO and boot in about 5 seconds. Admittedly a proper desktop Android distro would be 100-150mb + because of drivers and additional apps. But it makes you wonder how we put up with bloated multi gigabyte OSes packed with decades of legacy cruft.
  • by PhantomHarlock (189617) on Monday June 13, 2011 @04:15PM (#36429186)

    There are definitely some advantages to home automation, but for now I don't think it's worth the hassle. I've done X-10 and Insteon, and with the Insteon stuff, unless you have perfect power to your house (or whole house UPS) most of the light and switch modules will go bad. I got so tired to fixing broken modules that I took all of it out and put the original switches back in.

    things are getting better, but not cheap enough nor good enough to make it worth it for me.

    Home automation enthusiasts need to admit that it's still in the hobby phase, much like early computing.

    • Home automation enthusiasts need to admit that it's still in the hobby phase, much like early computing.

      Beta. The word is beta. Remember, this Google we're talking about.

  • by westyvw (653833) on Monday June 13, 2011 @04:16PM (#36429194)

    I can imagine a lot of cool things to do with a phone. But first I want one that lasts for at least a month without recharging. Otherwise, no deal.

  • Has anyone seen any details on the actual connection between the phones and the devices or is it "just magic"? I perused a few other articles and all I got was "low cost radio link that is not a current standard, but we aren't telling you what"
  • Let me be the first to say it: this is a security nightmare waiting to happen.
    • by gweihir (88907)

      Actually, I think this is good for security. If not updating the AV or OS on your smartphone will mean you fridge thawing, your bath flooding and your light not working anymore, people may start to take mobile device security serious at last.

  • That is all.

  • Wrong answer (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Animats (122034) on Monday June 13, 2011 @04:24PM (#36429298) Homepage

    Home control has been around for a long time without catching on. I live in a house built in 1950, and it has "home control" - two rows of toggle switches in the kitchen and a large number of 3-way and 4-way toggle switches. There was even an override switch in the master bedroom that turned on all the outside lighting. (Those are now on motion detectors.)

    In the 1960s, there was a fad for relay-controlled lighting and outlets, controlled through 24VAC relays. That never became popular, especially because the relays tended to burn out.

    Then there was X10, the first major power-line based system, in the 1980s. Then Echelon, a better power-line system, in the 1990s. Then we had the "every light bulb gets an IPv6 address" crowd.

    What's actually getting installed are non-networked wall switches with PIR motion detectors to turn off the lights when nobody is around. They do the job and take no user attention. Which is the whole point.

    This sort of thing makes more sense in industrial, office, and commercial buildings. There, though, the trend is not towards hooking everything to a remote control. It's adding sensors to make it fully automatic. You can get commercial devices that go in a return air duct and sense temperature, humidity, CO2, CO, volatile organic compounds, and smoke. [intellisenc.com] Then the room just does the right thing.

    When there's nobody in the room, CO2 is low, and humidity on the supply duct is no higher than intake air. The system can then cut airflow to very low levels, let the temperature drop or rise a bit to save energy, and recycle most of the air. As soon as someone enters the room (there's often a motion sensor for this) the temperature margins tighten up to comfort levels and the airflow goes up a bit. If a lot of people enter the room, the CO2 and humidity levels start to climb, and the HVAC system cranks up fan speeds, cuts in chillers, and opens and closes dampers to compensate. Detection of CO (probably smokers) or VOCs (probably someone painting) means input airflow has to go way up and air has to be exhausted to the outside, not recycled. Smoke detection activates emergency modes and alarms.

    Now that's doing it right, not some dork trying to operate the system from a touch screen.

    • by bendodge (998616)

      I would draw a bit of a parallel between your comments and economic planning. Which works better, a centralized planning system controlling every action and reaction, or a neural net of independent units making decisions at the smallest levels? Obviously, central economies tend to stagnate. However, a system where every room has it's own independent sensors and simple decision-makers may not fit Google's data-collection plans.

      • by Animats (122034)

        However, a system where every room has it's own independent sensors and simple decision-makers may not fit Google's data-collection plans.

        Actually, you do want to coordinate the whole building. The building-wide system for big buildings has information like wind direction and outside temperature. If there's a cold north wind, intakes can be opened on the north side to exploit it. If the sun is beating down on the west side and heating outside rooms there, air may be pumped from the hot side to the cold side. This sort of thing saves large amounts of fuel, just by working with outside conditions as much as possible.

        There is, however, litt

  • This notion has all the wonder of an Electric Monk from Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams. Just as we have TV things that record stuff for us and cell phones that do stuff for us, and Electric Monk believes things for you. So maybe we all just need an Electric Monk to believe that this technology is good for us...at least as good as all the data mining dear Google will be doing on precisely when men of a certain age wander off to the loo for a bit of mid-night relief.

  • Friend of mine is working on the smartphone part of Niko home control [nikohomecontrol.co.uk] (3rd section). Sadly, smartphone==iPhone in lots of peoples minds...

    BTW a Belgian product - figured you lot prefer the Anglo-Saxon variant of the site

  • I can already control my home, and various media centers with my iPhone via LinuxMCE. Granted, the UI sucks, and there's major lag, and it's a major pain to set up, but it works and it's worked for a while now.

  • The craptastic interface on my home thermostat had me thinking of this a few months ago. There are all kinds of devices around us that are too cheap to embed a rich interface in, but with a simple microcontroller and a link to a device like an android phone, the device could present a rich interface with complex control possibilities.

    Why not combine the inductive, short range communication system coming soon on many mobile products(for contactless payment systems) with a 'vnc' like protocol for presenting

  • When I had a brick and mortar, I used X10.

    Was much easier to control lights, switches, etc.

    I think instead of homes, where even if things are
    "routine" they are more likely to escape routine,
    such control would be MUCH more helpful and a
    benefit to the small business owner.

    Imagine a program like Tasker, as you approach
    your GPS locale, or your phone associates with
    your wifi in your shop, it triggers the lights on, the
    open sign... maybe even starts your brew.

    Even with X10, it took a few precious seconds to
    activa

    • by mjwx (966435)

      Even with X10, it took a few precious seconds to activate my "opening light scheme".

      This may sound petty but trust me, it's a godsend to anyone opening or closing up a shop.

      Once, a long time ago I did night fill for a supermarket, to close up I had to go right to the front of the store and shut off the lights for the store (switches were under the customer service area) then all the way down the back of the warehouse to shut down the warehouse lights (OK, probably a really stupid electrics install too). As well as the office lights and staff room lights which had switches located in the

  • This will weed out the bad coders (of which there are a larger and growing number) quickly!

    Seriously, unless you have extensive experience with secure and reliable coding and hardware, do not even think about touching that one.

    • by CCarrot (1562079)

      Indeed. When I read that, I wondered "what home medical devices?" DIY catscan and X-Ray machines?

      Upon RTFA, I was mildly disappointed to see they meant sensors for blood glucose monitors and to 'monitor their sleep patterns'. *Yawn*

      But then I cheered up when I read that they're also working on an app to control an 'exoskeleton' for paraplegics. That. is. cool. Not necessarily something I would be trusting my smartphone to control, however...or any remote interface, for that matter! Although I guess th

  • This smells like another ARexx port, D-Bus, RMI/COM/CORBA, etc, just Android's version of it. My guess is that Google's trying to encourage people to think more broadly, to include hardware, rather than just talking to Amarok or a spreadsheet, because if hardware is involved, then more companies see the potential to make a buck.

    I think toggling light bulbs is being mentioned just as an extremely simple example application, and people are taking it too seriously. OTOH at least there's someone out there to

  • The wall switch is simple, cost-effective, secure, self-explanatory and reliable.
    A wireless home-automation solution replacing the wall switch is complex, expensive, insecure, difficult to use, unreliable.

    Only a complete moron could want to go from the first to the second. Sure, adding some remote management functionality, where it is not critical is just a waste of money for most people, and so acceptable. But removing that physical switch is about the most stupid idea possible.

  • I've been waiting for a pure home phone Android version. Give it DECT, or even just WiFi, but a phone format. With either I could connect to my Vonage "land line". Synced to the same account my phone book would be the same as the mobile, as would email and calendar, but I'd tailor apps loaded differently. I wouldn't need lights and other items controlled by my mobile phone and wouldn't need navigation apps on my home phone.

    A non mobile phone version would also be fine w/o GPS ( put in a faux postion once

  • Its pretty simple if you used zigbee or similar for the remote aspects.

    Think about a outlet plug that has a slot above the plugs you slide in a zigbee board too (like a compactFlash card gets slid into a camera).

    Then, that zigbee can control both of those plugs without issues... toss in a Current Sensor [elkor.net] and you could also have the zigbee monitor the power usage as you turn on and off devices.

    Make the slots in everything, hardware related, switches, a thermostat, etc... I am thinking if you toss em into plu

  • Why is it all the coolest toys are for iPhone/iPad only?

    I wonder how feasible it would be to write an "iOS compatibility layer"?

    • by mjwx (966435)

      Why is it all the coolest toys are for iPhone/iPad only?

      Reporter bias?

      Iphones tend not to have the cool toys I use everyday, such as the email/calendar widget for my work mail (touchdown for Exchange). Or being able to go to any web site, even flash enabled ones and have them just work.

  • Wonderful, so when I wake up in the middle of the night, I will have to remember when I left my phone or pad rather than walking to the doorway of my bedroom from my bed to hit a switch, which I have memorized from doing it like 20,000 times. And that's disregarding the 10,000 times I've walked to the bathroom at night and hit the bathroom switch. Now I'm going to have to find an appliance so I don't spray the all over the wall, toilet, and towel rack/towels. Great! Now I can just go wandering around me

  • Hmm, interesting, it would be cool if I can control all of my house with a tablet. :)

Stinginess with privileges is kindness in disguise. -- Guide to VAX/VMS Security, Sep. 1984

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