Openarch is a real prototype of a smart home. The first home designed from scratch to incorporate a digital layer connecting the house and its elements to the Internet. Its inhabitants lead a new digital and connected life. It is flexible and thanks to its ability to transform, it can adapt to any condition that the user requires.
The digital layer – which from now on we will call D. OS (domestic operating system) – includes a series of components that allow users to stay connected to anyone or any place; control the house’s components by the movement of the body; hold conferences from home; know the power consumption at any time; activate any electrical household appliance from work; share a live video of your cooking recipes with the rest of the world; create your own TV set in the lounge, and so on.
The user is more in tune with his domestic environment and can adapt it to any situation or need. The holistic design of both physical and digital layers of the house creates flexible architecture. All furniture can be moved and the possibilities to change the space are maximized by a series of rolling and movable partitions.
With D. OS the house becomes a space for exchange and interaction, a domestic public space. The ability to connect several houses and their data with each other; share their daily routines through simultaneous projections; connect people in real time without looking at a screen; see real-time images of a public space and interact with people who are walking around. Possibilities that have seemed unimaginable until now will grow by generating a network of Openarch houses. Networks which will be infrastructures of future smart cities.
All the components of the house have continuous internet connection, creating a parallel home on the web. A type of domestic ‘situation room’ where we can access all the house’s data, control any element, know in real time how the house is being used, allow the house to tweet about what is happening and also share with others what we are interested in. This situation opens up a new way of managing the space, from automatically sharing or renting the house when we are not at home to turning the home into a service.
The gestural interface developed for Openarch completely breaks the limitations of interacting with a computer through the screen, mouse and keyboard.
Everything in the house can be used to communicate, the interface is ubiquitous. Through projections that are activated by the presence of a person, we can control everything with the movement of the hands: the lights; turning on any electrical household appliances; music; even connecting to Skype for a conference from any part of the house. Once connected to the internet, any device can be managed and switched on and off from anywhere in the world, and even controlled by mobile phone, tablet, or from any device which is connected to the internet.
The gestural interface is complemented by a system integrated within the household objects, from plug sockets to coffee pots. A network of RFID tags will allow a Smartphone with NFC, or a reading device, to interact with and visualize the objects’ data without activating the projections. Simply moving the phone towards the object can switch it on or off, and even obtain in real time the data that it generates.
We can have a deeper understanding of what surrounds us, and be aware of the processes taking place in our domestic environment. Sensors that measure temperature; energy expenditure; light and air pollution, including CO2 generated in our home. Sensors connected directly to the internet help us to understand energy consumption or city pollution. Webcams located throughout the space allow us to understand how we use the house, how we move in the house, how to improve our daily life and the design of our surroundings.
Using projections and an integrated videomapping system, the information collected through the sensors and the cameras can be displayed in its original place or wherever we choose to position it. All sorts of information, from temperature and pollution levels to our Twitter followers, can be projected onto the fridge.