Sunday, May 22, 2011

We may someday have to explain to our grandkids about archaic things called "light switches"

Much like 2010, this year's Google I/O conference made quite a number of new announcements, some projects still under development, and some of which may never see the market. Though Google may seem like it is developing a lot of concept-only products, that still doesn't diminish the excitement us geeks enjoy when we hear news like this.

Google is looking to extend the Android operating system beyond the phones, tablets, and even the TVs it currently ships in. First, the Android Open Accessory platform, which is an open peripheral development protocol based entirely on USB, will allow Android devices to plug into any hardware from third party manufacturers. Second, and even more interesting, is a new project called Android@Home.

Android@Home is Google's new concept product for home automation. The only place you've ever really seen home automation is in movies, where the bad guy's underground layer can be operated with voice commands and/or from an exquisite-looking control panel. In real life, however, home automation has never seen mainstream adoption. Previously developed systems either weren't that great, or you'd had to be Donald Trump to afford anything like it.

To give you a taste of what Google is proposing, chew on this: light switches could soon be a thing of the past. Let's imagine the possibility of placing tiny radio receivers in light bulbs that respond to the electronic cues of the automation system—a system that of course can be operated by Google Voice and its advanced voice-recognition technology.

Pretty cool, right? But that begs the question: I know that technology is supposed to make our lives easier, but how hard is flipping a switch to begin with?

via [Engadget]

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