Reconfigurable House-Hacking low tech architecture

From the project Homepage:

"The Reconfigurable House is an environment constructed from thousands of low tech components that can be "rewired" by visitors. The project is a critique of ubiquitous computing "smart homes", which are based on the idea that technology should be invisible to prevent DIY.

Smart homes actually aren't very smart simply because they are pre-wired according to algorithms and decisions made by designers of the systems, rather than the people who occupy the houses.

In contrast to such homes, which are not able to adapt structurally over time, the many sensors and actuators of Reconfigurable House can be reconnected endlessly as people change their minds so that the House can take on completely new behaviors.

Some people may walk into the House and find that things are too noisy, too reactive, or maybe not reactive enough. Perhaps some people may prefer sound outputs, others may prefer lights. Still others may prefer the delicate feeling of mist. Each visitor will be able to use a simple interface to configure the reactions and interactions of the house in a completely different way. The "hardware" stays the same, but visitors completely transform the "software"! In this openness, the Reconfigurable House also demonstrates authentic interaction: where the system not only reacts to visitors, but, at a higher level, also changes the way that its reaction is computed.

And if the House is left alone for too long, it gets bored, daydreams and reconfigures itself....

The house consists of walls and devices that respond to sound, light, touch, footsteps, phone calls, mp3 players and even distant remotely connected spaces. Through elements like the Cat Brick Wall, Mist Laser garden, Monkey Corridor and Radio Penguin Ceiling, constructed from hacked low tech toys and gadgets, the house can be inexpensively recreated by even those who are not experts in electronics. This means that not only is the software of the House open, but the hardware is too.

The software is constructed using open source programming language, Processing, and the electronics are controlled by Arduino, an inexpensive open source micro-controller. All code used in the project can be found on this site. People visiting the exhibition will find a phone number; when they get home, they will still be able to trigger devices in the room by calling this number. For more experienced programmers, it will be possible to connect their software, devices and websites directly to the Reconfigurable House located at ICC through the Environment XML protocol.

Actuators in the House can even be triggered remotely by telephone: dial +81 90 5338 3453 and, depending on what the occupants have decided to connect the phone to, your call will have an effect on sound, light or movement in the walls of the House!

Visit the project site to learn more, see additional photos and videos, download project source code and learn about the creators.

Reconfigurable House is built by Usman Haque and Adam Somlai-Fischer.


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