Deadly bushfires have swept across South Australia this week, destroying countless properties and natural spaces. One ingenious professor was able to save his rural home, however, by remotely activating sprinklers using a smartphone. Simon Maddocks, the President and Vice-Chancellor of Charles Darwin University, had been notified of the fires by friends and messages sent by the Country Fire Service (CFS). He was sitting comfortably in his Darwin office, far from danger, but knew his wheat farm on the other side of the country was at risk. Maddocks started tracking the flames from over 3,000 kilometers away using CFS maps on his phone before connecting to CCTV cameras at his house.
"All of a sudden everything went dark, then there was a red fireball...everything just turned in a split second," he told ABC News. The flames took his crops within minutes, before turning their attention to the farmhouse. Maddocks felt "helpless" but cleverly turned on the sprinklers, keeping the danger at bay. "The fire came up all around my house but my ability to turn on irrigation systems from my phone in Darwin, and the fact that I had neighbours patrolling with fire units...we're lucky we got away with a house," he added.
In this case, building a smart home was a very smart move.[Image Credit: Getty Creative]