"We call this the robot wall, a wall that we can control through buttons that tell us what division to transform," clarifies Vasco Portugal, who adds that "it is the human part that makes the project difficult to solve because people are unpredictable, "he says. In many countries, many experts have also come out in recent years to espouse the same theory.
Our future is about to get even more connected, with cars warning the thermostats when we are coming home and the lights going red whenever carbon monoxide is detected in the surrounding space. In this future, which is closer than we think, the houses will be (even more) intelligent thanks to a network that will interconnect from the furniture to the equipment to the sensory part.
"The complexity is in connecting everything, because now the cables we have at home do not pass information or data," explains Vasco Portugal. Even some devices only in the beginning of the 2010 is that they start to work well. Wi-Fi, a good example of this, will be the key to the smart home working well. By 2013, only 62% of the Portuguese population had an internet connection at home. It's different today.
Other challenges for the house (s) of the future
To support the interconnected future, this technology will have to be faster and more reliable. Broadband should work just as well as the electricity service nowadays and the routers will have to be easier to install and maintain. Basically, in order to be considered smart the devices will have to be able to identify what is going wrong and help correct the problem, otherwise the future will be frustrating and possibly dangerous.
As Vasco Portugal says, "a solution is always born with a problem". Among these challenges are hackers, who "will be drawn to the concept of smart home, becoming the future burglars. And the viruses we bring to computers will also cause some problems, as they will affect the correct functioning of the smart house ", predicts the specialist. All devices will be targeted for attacks that we can not now predict. However, "this will never be the limiting part," says the PhD student at MIT.
Technology security will have to be improved, yes, just like the operation of all devices will also have to be more intuitive. In this regard, both Google and Apple have been developing platforms designed to interconnect household electrical and entertainment equipment. In June 2014, Apple announced HomeKit software, which connects home devices to branded devices.
Also Nest, which was bought by Google for 3.2 billion euros, has launched devices that can be controlled remotely, such as Learning Thermostat, initially for sale for € 193. This thermostat adjusts the settings according to the usage we give you and helps save about € 132 on energy costs annually. These are, however, just a few of the many early examples.
However, the fact that the two companies are fighting for the monopoly of this market has raised at least another concern since the beginning of the 2010. The compatibility between devices and software from different manufacturers. Both will have to guarantee the privacy of their clients to get their trust, since what people value most at home is security. Unfortunately, there have been flaws.
In just 24 hours, the Chinese company WinSun Decoration Design Engeneering has produced ten houses, each 230 square meters, through the innovative contour crafting construction method. Signed by Behrokh Khoshnevis, a professor at the University of Southern California in the US, technology will not only revolutionize civil engineering, but will also play with architecture at more affordable prices.
The house is shaped by a pattern made into a computer and then reproduced by a giant 3D printer. Cement and other wasted materials are used to make the structure, reducing the cost of the common hundreds of thousands of euros to about 3,600 €. In recent years, the contour crafting method has also been tested on multi-storey building construction at various locations.
And in order to be applied on the moon and on Mars, the project is being funded by NASA and the Cal-Earth Institute. But for the time being, this solution will not yet be marketed with a view to housing and could be used as refugee accommodation or in humanitarian campaigns following natural disasters. This was at least the initial intention of the entities involved in this (yet) experimental project.
The (new) vacancy of the compact housing
Gary Chang, an architect from Hong Kong, still lives in the same apartment where he grew up, he no longer shares the 32 square meters with his parents and two sisters. And from one, it had twenty-four divisions. For the architect, the use of space, time and materials must be intelligent and, over the last few decades, this has been one of his main missions, as he has come to admit publicly.
In addition to the traditional typology, which still consists of the bedroom (s), bathroom and kitchen, Gary Chang can still have other rooms, such as a library, a movie theater and a spa, thanks to the walls created. In the near future, the connectivity of homes and the possibility of changing the interiors will be a reality in most compact housing in urban centers.
The Portuguese reality
Get to know some of the companies that offer modular (prefabricated) solutions, home automation and integrated furniture in our country:
– Modular houses
Modular prefabricated buildings should not be viewed as having less quality than traditional ones. Although some are ready in a month, these homes usually take about six months to be put on the ground (because of approvals) and are available in steel-corten (from € 40,000) or wood (from € 30,000).
If you are interested in a solution of these, we recommend that you consult the companies Mima Lab, Modiko, Lemcor, Novo Habitat or Pinho Casa, some of the companies that, in recent years, have invested in this type of different and differentiating housing solutions.
– Integrated furniture
Movable furniture has arrived in Portugal, able to change its shape and function in a few seconds with minimal effort and no noise, thanks to its hydraulic technology. Space It is the national distributor of the Italian brands Clei and Ozzio, leaders of the saving space market, offering modern and creative solutions (in different finishes), starting from 1.000 €.
– Home automation solutions
For more than 20 years the award-winning Portuguese company ISA has developed innovative solutions such as Cloogy software. This is a web portal that, for around € 99, allows remote control of the electrical equipment you have at home and still produces reports of your consumption to be able to compare with the energy tariff.
Text: Filipa Basílio da Silva