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News Archive 2001 - 2010

Student Lives in “Smart” Apartment on UTA Campus

February 18, 2004

Kien Tran, a computer science & engineering senior, lives in a student apartment like no other. Placed around his University of Texas at Arlington apartment are more than150 sensors wired to four computers. They’re all part of a real-life test of a “smart” living environment, where the entire home is an intelligent host that learns about the inhabitants, responds to their actions and anticipates their needs.

Tran has worked on the “smart home” project for about a year and is a sensor expert. The sensors in his apartment measure things such as motion, temperature, light, etc. Sensors in the bathroom can tell if the toilet is overflowing and can begin a command to have the water turned off. Sensors mounted to the ceiling can tell where people are in the apartment; others sense light levels and either open the blinds or turn on lights. The sensors facilitate the control of many devices in the apartment, from heating and air conditioning to media preferences.

Preparation on the apartment has been underway for five months, but it’s only the latest example of a research project that’s been active in the College of Engineering’s Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) Department since 2001. That’s when CSE Professor Diane Cook secured a $1.16 million grant from the National Science Foundation to develop the artificial intelligence (AI) necessary to monitor, reason and react to a home’s inhabitants and living conditions. All sensors and applications used in the apartment have been integrated and tested in Dr. Cook’s AI laboratory before being installed.

CSE Faculty Associate and Ph.D. student Michael Youngblood is leading the “smart” apartment project. He and other AI researchers will demonstrate the “smart” apartment’s capabilities in the University Village and the AI lab in Nedderman Hall on Monday, February 23, from 10:00am to 1:00pm. The event is part of the Engineers Week activities at UTA.