Ever wondered if you could control your house's climate, security, and appliances -- along with your PCs and peripherals -- using Microsoft software? That day may soon dawn, as its Research arm has started testing its home automation software, called HomeOS, in twelve domiciles over the past few months. The budding system views smartphones, printers and air conditioners as network peripherals, controlled by a dedicated gateway computer. The project even has a handful of apps in play, which perform functions like energy monitoring, remote surveillance and face-recognition. This growing list of applications, available through a portal called "HomeStore", will allow users to easily expand their system's capabilities. So how does it all work out in the real world? Head past the break, and let Redmond's research team give you the skinny.