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Pioneer program will open doors to smart homes

Credit: The University of Queensland

Students at The University of Queensland, through a pioneer program, will be given the opportunity to work with industry experts to design and manufacture smart devices in order to create a smart home.

According to a recent report, every component of the home would be a smart device.

The Information Technology and Electrical Engineering Course Coordinator said that the house will include a smart fridge, a smart door, a smart window, a smart tap, a smart bathroom scale, and a smart indoor/outdoor weather station, among others.

Although these smart devices are already available on the market, the students are determined to take the technology a step further.

One student is looking at a fridge that can check the contents as items go in and out. Take a carton of milk, for instance.

When it is placed in the refrigerator, the database will be able to estimate when the milk will run out and adds it to a shopping list. It may also send a warning when the expiry date is approaching.

There is also a smart door that moves beyond the existing models, those which are opened by using Bluetooth or RFID tags.

RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification which refers to technologies that use wireless communication between an object, or a tag, and an interrogating device, or a reader, to automatically track and identify such objects.

Their smart door entails taking a 3D image of the person standing in front of it. The smart door will not only measure the face for facial recognition, but will also measure the body shape for added security.

The Gartner Research Company predicts that 20 billion smart devices will be used for everything from health and fitness to entertainment, security and time management within the next two years.

Data security would be the biggest issue facing smart homes. To address this, the University’s Smart Home project would offer the users the chance to opt-out of having their private data on the internet.

The students are developing a virtual home that sits behind a Wi-Fi router and only communicates with the outside world depending on user preferences.

It can be limited to a single computer communicating with these devices from inside the house.

The Information Technology and Electrical Engineering Head of School described the project as one of the many initiatives that demonstrated innovation and commitment to teaching excellence in computer science.

The University is also proud that they are able to shape the digital future for generations to come.

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