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News Archive 2001 - 2010

NSF Provides $1.16 Million for Smart Home R & D

October 24, 2001

A home that anticipates and meets the owner's daily needs - that's the goal of researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington's College of Engineering as they design the workings of a truly "smart" home to be built on the UTA campus by the summer of 2003. The project will be unique in that it focuses on the materials and function of the entire home, not just electronic features.

Funding for the research portion of the project is being provided through National Science Foundation's Information Technology Research program. Diane Cook, UTA professor of Computer Science and Engineering, is the lead investigator of the three-year research program and will coordinate the efforts of a team of six other professors. "This is a cross-disciplinary project," said Cook. "We're viewing the entire home as an intelligent host, so we'll be investigating smart sensors, communications devices, predictive agents and robotic assistants."

The team plans to optimize functions such as inhabitant comfort, productivity and security while minimizing costs. The home could include features such as a refrigerator that monitors food usage and creates shopping lists, sensors that track the location of occupants and adjust the lighting and temperature, and robots that provide housekeeping assistance.

Cook and her team will be conducting preliminary research on different aspects of the home before construction begins, creating simulations and testing sensors. The home and its contents will be provided through university funds and donations from manufacturers and suppliers. David Yates, builder of the Home of Tomorrow seen at the 2000 State Fair of Texas, is coordinating the construction project. When completed, the home will serve as a working laboratory and demonstration tool for applications that could be utilized in other buildings - commercial as well as residential.

Additional information on the home may be found at http://ranger.uta.edu/smarthome/.

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