For as long as people have been envisioning the house of the future, it almost always features control initiated with the briefest of gestures. Now, in the name of conserving energy that vision could come true with a solar house designed to use an Xbox Kinect to switch off energy consuming devices with simple movements.
Enter the Compact, Hyper-Insulated Prototype Solar House. Affectionately known as the CHIP Solar House.
Going solar is just part of making a house energy neutral. Often, simple tasks like turning off lights or adjusting a thermostat — things that can drain energy from a house — are left undone in people's busy lives. The CHIP Solar House is a joint project between the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arch) and California Institute of Technology (Caltech) designed to make saving energy as easy as possible. Incorporating gesture control technology via an Xbox Kinect, the CHIP Solar House reduces tasks to a simple wave of the hand.
The house also uses a 3-D camera that will track your movements and switch off lights automatically when you leave a room. The 750 square foot house also has a unique look on the outside, featuring insulation that resembles a padded cell.
There is a drawback to this Jetsons-style house.
As a prototype house it took over two years, more than 100 students and over $1 million to build. Though SCI-Arch and Caltech say the house could be replicated for a consumer for $300,000 that's still a steep price to pay to go energy neutral.
While it is cool to be able to wave a hand to turn off the lights it seems like a first world problem that until made cheaper, could be done just as easily by getting up and doing it the old fashioned way.