HomeSeer is literally everywhere—or at least on all of the Android tablets used as control panels sprinkled throughout the apartment. These aren’t fancy screens, but they can get the job done when coupled with the HomeSeer HSTouch app. At last count, Zac had a total of six Android touchscreens, including one in the shower.
Zac also has HomeSeer tied into his HDTVs, which include a 65-inch rear-projection unit in the living room and a 55-inch LG flat screen in the bedroom. Both screens are also connected to a wake-up program, which will turn the TV on first thing in the morning.
HomeSeer is even connected to everyday appliances. For instance, if HomeSeer detects motion after 6:30 a.m., it will trigger the coffee maker. It’s also connected to chore-related items, such as a washing machine and dishwasher. The control system can measure power being used by any of these items and when the cycle is complete, it sends a text message and/or makes an announcement over the apartment’s speakers.
“There’s a motion sensor that I modified with the magnetic switch mounted to the side of the dishwasher. When the dishwasher door is open, it knows that this is the first time it’s been open since it ran and it reminds that person,” says Zac. “My roommate was very bad about not emptying the dishwasher, so this has the intelligence to know that the stuff in the dishwasher is clean and that you shouldn’t put dirty dishes in.”
This setup is very similar to a sensor that Zac has on his closet door. If the doors are left open for more than five minutes, the system will send out a reminder every minute until it’s closed.
“It’s a great training tool for kids,” says Zac. “It’s very good if you have a family, because HomeSeer becomes the bad guy—and computers do not give up.”
Another piece of automation that effects Zac’s senses has nothing to do with sight, sound or doors. When Zac leaves work, he can hit the “Heading Home” button on his phone, which will adjust the temperature and turn the “scent system” on. Yes, Zac even has automated scents. This comes from a module that’s connected to candle warmers. He has a few hidden throughout the house that smell like cinnamon and apple pie—and each one is connected to the HomeSeer system.
“All HomeSeer is doing is turning power onto them,” says Zac. “By the time I get home, the temperature is down to a normal level, and it smells better.”
Other automated features around the apartment include fountains and lighting on the patio, a video camera that can track motion and send pictures to Zac’s iPhone, and an “Away” mode for the lighting, temperature and AV equipment.
It’s not the ultimate Electronic House, but Zac’s apartment is certainly cool. Also, he doesn’t feel like he’s missing out, by not having the extra space. “Obviously, I don’t have a garden of my own, so I can’t do an irrigation system or something like that,” he says. He does, however, have fountains out of this patio, complete with motion sensors. He says that the system’s software could use a little tweaking, but he’s pretty happy with what he’s got. “I don’t think that there’s much more that I can possibly do.”
If you want to see more of Zac’s apartment, check out the video below and our “Apartment is Automated All the Way Down to the Dishwasher” slideshow.
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Over the past 15 years, Rachel Cericola has covered entertainment, web and technology trends. Check her out at www.rachelcericola.com.