The modern smart home operates on accessories. You set up an air purifier for cleaner airor you wear a Fitbit to track your heart rate and other vital statistics. Imagine if that wasn’t necessary. Imagine, for a moment, that your rug could tell you your weight, your BMI, and more. Imagine if your window automatically filtered the air and also blocked out noise, resulting in a quieter home.
That’s the vision behind NewTerritory, a design studio that seeks to make a home truly smart by blending these accessories into the very design of the house itself, rather than as included accessories. It does this through a concept known as Empathic Technology, which focuses on three main ideas.
The Connect concept makes use of a central connective router tray with features like an omnidirectional speaker and a Wi-Fi booster to provide a better connection throughout the home and streamline communication between those who live there.
The Sense concept uses monitoring devices like a smart switch, a pendant, and a surface — like a rug — to track inhabitants through touch, sound, and visual references. The Enhance concept reacts to the gathered data. An example is the smart window frame, which enables active noise cancelling when sound levels outside the home become too great.
While a lot of these are buzzwords, the products themselves are integrated into the home in clever ways. The “surface” technology looks like a rug that would cover the floor in front of a bathroom or kitchen sink. These different products and devices are able to provide high levels of functionality while simultaneously avoiding the look of “smart” devices. The window frame looks like a standard, wood-paneled frame. It fits right into the aesthetic of a modern home and masks its functionality.
All of the information gathered through NewTerritory’s technology is presented in a clean UI that shows where each member of the family is at any given time. It also allows you to view the information it has picked up about you, like your heart rate, posture, body temperature, and more.
This level of smart home technology is a good example of how convergence remains the key to the smart home. By making smart technology a literal part of the home, it becomes more streamlined and easier to access instead of something that must be added in as an afterthought.