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BorgCo are developing a touchscreen interface for domestic use.
The design is essentially a cheap tablet computer in a range of screen sizes.
It has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It's designed for wall mounting, to fit over the plate of a regular light switch.
It charges its battery by bleeding power
from the lighting circuit. When the light is off, there's a stepdown - when the light is on, parallel reversed diode stacks introduce a small voltage drop from which energy can be extracted.
The device has the usual microphone, speaker and camera, plus temperature and humidity; but there are no accelerometers, as the unit is intended for a fixed location*. In "idle" mode it acts as a light switch and internal (video)phone. Via WiFi, it interfaces to a central computer which is linked to broadband and the voice phone line.
It can act as a voice-command input system, allowing appliances to be switched by voice instructions, or can provide information. The dual-channel RF allows it to act as a Wi-Fi relay & booster.
The important point is to make these units in vast numbers, thus bringing the unit cost right down.
*Versions for geographies subject to tectonic and magmatic phenomena will have accelerometers as an option, for crowdsourced seismometry.
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||There's even a version for barely articulate cockneys, [IT].
||So, come the singularity, your bathroom lightswitch will compete
with your bedroom lightswitch in messing with your head, just for
||It will be good news for at least some paranoid schizophrenics,
who will find for the first time that they are actually better
adapted to the new environment than those around them.
||The problem with all these home automation systems is
that they're all integrated with something or other.
Which means that after about 3 years, someone updates
something, meaning that nothing else with work with
anything else unless everything else is also updated.
||I want a lightswitch that knows it's a lightswitch, has its
own understanding of how to go about its job, and doesn't
to turn on or (should it be so required) off. The absolute
maximum degree of modernisation I want in a light switch
is a plastic fascia, although to be honest a chunky knife-
switch with a Bakelite handle is more robust and easier to
diagnose in case of a fault.
||Coming from someone who already has a complete voice-controlled establishment (courtesy of a vast staff of footmen, under-butlers, maids and housekeepers), that sort of petty criticism of an innovation designed to benefit the less fortunate (i.e. 99.98% of the population of your planet) is only to be expected.
||The point is, [8th], that a good under-butler will buttle for
upwards of 45 years without an upgrade (though speeds may
drop off a little toward the end). And, when a replacement
is needed, the software can be transferred rather than
having to be reinstalled de novo. The replacement will also
be fully compatible with the existing maid, footmen and
housekeepers, allowing phased obsolescence.
||We never knew that. We had assumed it was the aiming point.
||That's what we use it for when we put them up on the firing range, anyway.
||[+] If we can figure out how to be a paperless society its
going to come to us having ubiquitous touchscreens that
can interface with anything.
||Except [Ian Tindale], but after all there's always one who spoils it for everyone else, isn't there ?