RoomRender Futuristic Smart Room

RoomRender is an intelligent room system that provides a remarkable degree of control over electronics, appliances and other hardware with verbal commands.

(RoomRender by SGI Japan)

RoomRender uses AmiVoice voice recognition to recognize, analyze and respond to verbal commands. RoomRender also is able to respond to the mood of users. The unique FeelingWall has colored lights that change according to the mood of the people in the room. It interprets emotions based on the intonation and rhythm of voices, adjusting the color and lighting accordingly.

RoomRender lets you control an aroma diffuser, so it also has a fragrance-based response to how you feel. You can walk into the room and announce "I'm tired," and have the room dim the lights, turn off the TV, alter the composition of the lights, turn on some background music and release soothing fragrances.

The system costs about $45,000; SGI Japan, which developed the system, has installed RoomRender in one of its Tokyo meeting rooms earlier this month. It is hoped that the system will find its way into company meeting rooms, hotels, and hospital facilities.

The idea of a smart room has been around for a while. In 1996, a smart room prototype was created in MIT's Media Laboratory. They developed a host of applications, including face recognition, gesture awareness and even some recognition of American Sign Language gestures. The system had an awareness of the number of people in the room and where they congregated.

Another direction was chosen by Carnegie Mellon University students, who created another prototype for meeting rooms, one that would improve interactivity between design teams. Their 2003 Barn design would record and track activity in a meeting room, using RFID tags to record location. Sketches on the room's Thinking Surface would be recorded in a log with participant comments. Participants could also "bookmark" important ideas or moments in the room's record.

Also in 2003, the University of Florida created an "assistive environment" - it's a smart room concept designed particularly for the elderly. It can determine the location of a person in a residence, as well as monitor for spills.

Science fiction fans will recall the wonderful "smart houses" of Ray Bradbury's short stories; take a look at the entry for Happylife Home from his 1951 book of short stories The Illustrated Man.

"They walked down the hall of their soundproofed Happylife Home, which had cost them thirty thousand dollars installed, this house which clothed and fed and rocked them to sleep and played and sang and was good to them." (More)

For an organic solution to making your house feel your emotions, take a look at the genetically engineered float-home from Frank Herbert's 1969 novel Whipping Star.

Find out more about RoomRender, MIT's smart room, the UF assistive environment and CMU's Barn. See also the Smart Home With Cyber Crumbs.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/10/2006)

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