Why do we bother with home automation anyway? I say it's because for a few hundred dollars, we can make ourselves smoover than most (and almost as smoove as those with a few billion dollars). Some folks want to emulate Bill Gates and live in a smart castle. My tastes run more toward someone like Hugh
Hefner. I want my house to respond like a well-trained thoroughbred when I'm entertaining the ladies.
I am a fan of X-10 and other home automation protocols. Many of them can handle voice commands if you have a microphone connected to the computer. You simply say, "Computer, dim the lights." and it runs the proper sequence.
But making the voice recognition work is tricky. The NLP software is decent, but it requires a good mic with no background noise. Serious home automation enthusiasts will install in-wall or in-ceiling microphone system in each room and then route them to a central mixer before sending it to the computer. They may also run a bunch of noise pre-filtering software too.
I don't have the luxury of putting holes in my wall/pulling cable, so the next logical step is to have a wireless mic that I can take around with me. A simple bluetooth phone headset will interface with a PC, and the range is decent enough (10 meters). My only problem is that bluetooth headsets make you look silly. This is not conjecture, this is the awful truth. Why bother making your house swanky and then revealing your inner dork by slapping on a bluetooth mic?
Then It dawned on me, Hef always has a pipe. He's admitted that it is less for smoking and more to give him something to do with his hands. Pipes are great visual tools as well, excellent for driving a point home during a heated conversation. Now, I don't smoke a pipe, but I can certainly appreciate the asthetic. If it works for Hef, it just might work for me.
I want to take a bluetooth headset, and repackage the electronics into a pipe. That way, I can move jauntily through my home, pipe in hand, and if the mood is in need of adjustment I casually say "Let's get a little closer..." into my pipe. The lights dim, the blinds close, Al Green starts playing softly. "Are you feeling chilly darling? Let's turn up the heat..." The gas fireplace comes alive. Awwwww yeah. Pimp.