Two decades ago, Bill Gates surprised the world with the incredible technology built into his home in Seattle. One of the most interesting aspects of the house was the ability of rooms to change and adjust to the people in the room. For example, digital artwork on screens throughout the home would change based on who was there, with Gates himself overriding anyone else. The technology was so impressive that it was used as a plot-point in the movie Antitrust. Now, RoomMe by Intellithings is bringing this concept into modern technology.
Gates' home required people to wear special lapel pins that would be sensed by readers throughout the building. Today, most people actually carry these devices with them all the time, built into their smartphones. This means that, with the RoomMe sensor, a smarthome setup can detect people in a room without motion sensors. This is an important step for several reasons.
The most important benefit is known to anyone who has ever been around a motion-sensing light - its tendency to turn off. If you are still for too long, perhaps working at a computer, a motion sensor will think you're not there anymore. But, if you are using a RoomMe instead, it is able to detect that your phone is in the room and can make more appropriate decisions.
The second, and most powerful feature, is the ability to make decisions based on WHO is in the room, not just that ANYONE is there. For example, maybe Marlo likes the lights to be at 50% brightness in the control room when he's working, but Michele prefers 90% brightness. By detecting which of the two is in the control room, RoomMe can dim or raise the lights to the correct level, and turn them off when they leave.
The platform currently works with a large collection of partners, including Philips Hue, Insteon, HomeKit, and more, and are available for $69. To find out more about RoomMe, check out the Intellithings website.
Interview by Marlo Anderson of The Tech Ranch.
Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLUGHITZ Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the rhythm game community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bay Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and helping with ROBOTICON Tampa Bay. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors, currently housed at AMRoC Fab Lab.