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STEAM - science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics

Smart House

What is a smart house?

Is it also called digital or accessible house?

How can devices “communicate” with each other in a smart house?

What is the emerging important feature of a smart house towards     environment?

What is Roomba?

What is a drone?

When did the idea of “home of the future” first appear?

 Read the text and find the answers to those questions. You may need the translation of some unknown words:

appliance устройство, прибор
remotely дистанционно
conservation сохранение
tablet планшет
surveillance наблюдение
accessible доступный
alarm system система охранной сигнализации

 Smart House Devices

A Smart Home is one that provides its homeowners comfort, security, energy efficiency (low operating costs) and convenience at all times, regardless of whether anyone is home.

"Smart Home" is the term commonly used to define a residence that has appliances, lighting, heating, air conditioning, TVs, computers, entertainment audio & video systems, security, and camera systems that are capable of communicating with one another and can be controlled remotely by a time schedule from any room in the home, as well as remotely from any location in the world by phone or internet.

Installation of smart products gives the home and its occupants various benefits — the same benefits that technology and personal computing have brought to us over the past 30 years — convenience and savings of time, money and energy.

A smart house, also called a Digital Home or Automated Home, is a residence that is digitally accessible and automate d to a greater or lesser degree, and is closely related to the ‘internet of things’ concept.

In a smart house, either the home itself or some aspects of housework or common home activities like entertainment are computerized, programmable and at least partially automatic. Central control of common systems like lighting, climate control (heating and air conditioning) door and window locks and alarm systems is common.

These systems have been automated to provide better comfort, convenience, security and/or energy efficiency, depending on the goals of the designers and users. Home automation can also aid the elderly or disabled to improve their overall quality of life and reduce or eliminate the need of a caregiver, or delay the need for institutionalized care.

As the prices of electronic and computer equipment continues to fall, and actual computing capacity increases, home automation has become much more practical at small and large scales alike, and is therefore becoming much more popular. Specific advances include the ability to monitor, control and program aspects of the house automation with a smartphone or tablet, which have become all but ubiquitous.

An emerging important feature of a smart home is conservation of the earth's limited resources. More and more people are becoming aware of the ability to make their homes truly smart — and green — by utilizing home controllers integrated with all home sub-systems to increase savings by controlling lighting, window coverings, HVAC, irrigation and by monitoring usage. Many home controllers have built-in monitoring systems whereby they calculate and log usage by all connected devices, giving the homeowner heightened awareness and the knowledge to make changes as necessary. These systems can even be accessed over the Internet from anywhere in the world so the homeowner can adjust consumption anytime, anywhere.

How does it work?

A home automation system is essentially a network of all of the electronically controllable devices that are in (or are a part of) the home. The devices can communicate with each other (or the outside world, through an internet connection) and share information as required by the designer. From your control point, often a smart phone or laptop, you can instruct the house to perform tasks either automatically, or in response to certain events which the house has been modified to be able to sense. From that one connection, you can control your home entertainment systems, activate lawn or houseplant irrigation, feed your pets, modify your internal heat or lighting settings, and even access, control and program any domestic robots that may be incorporated into the system.

All of this can be accessed through a variety of means. Users should consider the security threats presented by allowing home systems to be accessed from outside the home, as few security systems can deter a truly determined hacker for ever. More common security systems only allow smart home access and control from inside the home, over a secured wireless communications point.

Indoor domestic robots

A domestic robot, or service robot, is an automatic, programmable, often mobile device that is used to assist with household chores, education or entertainment. Almost everyone is familiar with the Roomba automated vacuum cleaner, for example.

Until recently, domestic robots have seen limited commercial success, the Roomba being the exception. However, their numbers are rising sharply as computing power rises and prices fall. Worldwide, there were an estimated 3.5 million service robots operating in 2006, compared to less than 1 million industrial robots.

Common domestic robots include automated vacuum cleaners and floor polishers, automated cat litter cleaning devices, and even security drones of growing sophistication.

Outdoor domestic robots

Many robots or smart-home extensions are designed to do work outside the home. Most common are automated lawn mowers, pool cleaners, window washing units and robots to clean the eaves or gutters.

Users should take care to determine the legality of using an automated device outdoors in their community, especially if the device is to operate without supervision.


Drones are a different category than robots, and are becoming much more common even for civilian use. A drone is by definition mobile, and can move along the ground or fly under its own power. They can be controlled remotely, but are capable of following preprogramed routes and performing actions based on environmental cues.

The most common type of drone to be incorporated into a smart house is the security drone. Many are primarily mobile surveillance platforms capable of patrolling a set area and detecting movement or intruders. Suspicious activity can be filmed for analysis by a human operator or the police, and many are capable of sending text or email alerts of detections if they are programmed to do so.

Surveillance drones are the center of numerous privacy debates, and the legal limits imposed on them are volatile. Users should take care to follow all laws with these devices, and to be aware of neighbors’ privacy concerns.

History of smart homes

The automated ‘home of the future’ has been a concept since just after the Second World War, appearing frequently in exhibitions such as the World’s Fair and in science fiction literature. Limitations on the technology kept such devices largely theoretical until at least the late 1960’s.

In the 1980’s the idea had its first real renaissance with a few digitally controlled home devices and robots, most of which were little better than toys, despite having a price tag similar to a car of the time. Bill Gates championed the idea in the 1990s, when technology had advanced enough to make it possible, if not practical.

Today, smart homes are almost affordable, and many individual pieces of ‘smart’ technology are becoming common in new build homes. The next ten years could show a real revolution in smart home technology, as priced drop still further.


Watching the videos “What is a Smart Home?”

What technologies and devices are used in a Smart House? While watching, check the list of technologies:

  • Solar powered house
  • Room controller (lighting, sun protection, heating and music can be controlled with one device)
  • Motion and sunlight sensing automatic curtain
  • Lighting control by any internet enabled device
  • Personal interactive multi-touch table
  • High tech security with electronic access control
  • Voice control home theatre automation
  • Multi-touch wall
  • Morning-call automation & temperature control system
  • Human sensing bathroom automation (Jacuzzi is ready before you reach home)
  • Gesture recognition system
  • Smoke & gas sensor alarm automation
  • Fingerprint & pin-code authentication digital lock
  • Motion sensing staircase lighting effects
  • 24 hours online & motion sensing CCTV
  • Garage door control
  • Motion sensing fountain
  • Humidity sensing & automatic watering
  • Automatic sun shader
  • Sunlight sensing automatic shader (blinds)

What technologies were mentioned in the film? What are they?

Do you know what Photovoltaic glass is?

What devices can be replaced by it?

 Watch the video “A day Made of Glass”

and try to explain the following Photovoltaic glass devices:

  • LCD television
  • Architectural display
  • Architectural surface
  • Appliance veneer
  • Handheld display
  • Automotive display
  • Large-format display
  • All-weather surface
  • Wall-format display
  • Work surface display
  • Flexible display
  • 3D TV display
  • Portable display
  • Handheld display

To sum up your ideas see the presentation


  1. Essay: describe top-5 Smart technologies you would use if you were:
  • a housewife
  • a businessman
  • a student
  • a teacher
  • a doctor
  • a cook
  • a traveler

Send your essay to the teacher.

  1. Project work with presentation: describe a house of future build to resist (choose one option):
  • Earthquake
  • Great Fire
  • World Flood
  • Eternal Frost
  • Nuclear War
  • World alien capture

Send your project to the teacher.

  1. Take a quiz.
Please login to get access to the quiz
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Natalia Albertovna Gritsyshina
Role : Teacher
  • Website :
  • Experience : University lecturer, STEAM teacher, Workshop coach
  • Specialist in : Teaching English to young adults, training teachers of English in new technologies
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