Imagine a home that responds to your needs. A home that lets you see who is at the door, helps you regulate smoke and fire alarms and warns you of a gas leak — all from the click of a mouse. It also sends you a warning sms if a windowpane is broken or a light is left on. What’s more, you can operate your household appliances while working on your computer.
Smart Homes — homes equipped with a wireless sensor network developed by the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT-D) are all set to make life easier for busy professionals.
“It took us four years to complete the product,” said Prof Subrat Kar, who worked on the product with his colleague Prof Shantanu Choudhry and four electrical engineering students. “The idea was to make homes more responsive to individual needs,” said Kar.
“The sensor network makes it possible to connect the entire house wirelessly. There is a central sensor system, which is connected to the sensor nodes attached to the doors, windows, fire and gas alarm and household appliances if any,” explained Kar.
And to make it all very familiar, the software works like Yahoo messenger or Google talk. “You get pop up messages similar to chat windows,” said Kar. “You can also check the battery of the sensors and change them when needed,” he added.
This network is different from all other security systems as it does not require any wires or digging around. “In just 20 minutes we can install the entire system. Once the sensors are put they auto discover each other and set themselves up,” said Kar.
Each sensor has to be placed within 150 metres of the other and the range can go up to five kilometres. “We will be demonstrating Smart Homes at the Open House this month,” the professor said. “A farmer sitting in his office can check the soil condition and water level and release water accordingly,” Kar said. “The sensor network can also be used in trains to detect animals and humans on railway tracks.”