My Master Project (aka Thesis) for my Master's of Architecture Degree was not your typical project. Instead of designing a building, I had the opportunity to research building technology
Today, computers can be found in items we use everyday like our cars, coffee maker and toys but we have yet to truly integrate them into the buildings we create. Currently, the systems we use in the home are all independent, a mess of wires running through walls. I propose that by using modular/prefab construction, a microcontroller, a cheap single chip computer, can be integrated into every piece of building and joined together during assembly on site to create a distributed computer network that wraps around the building. This network will consolidate existing control systems like security systems and thermostat controls into a single unified system that creates a foundation for a whole new generation of integrated devices. This way, inputs like light switches and security sensors are programmed rather than hard wired to outputs like lights, shades, locks and other actuators, creating a very flexible environment.
HomeNet is a prototype of the future building network and demonstrates how this technology will change how we construct houses. It takes an open source approach to creating a smart house, using all of the tools freely available today. I will look at how our interaction with our built environment changes and what happens when our buildings can interact with us with the same tools we use everyday like the internet, email, Facebook and Twitter. We have the potential to gain finite control over our surroundings and reduce our impact on the environment.