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MIT created the smart home app of the future

What if you could connect and control any object with your phone?
Billy Steele
12.11.15 in Gadgetry

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A researcher at MIT's Fluid Interfaces Lab is looking beyond the Internet of Things. With the Reality Editor app, Valentin Heun proves that all of our smart objects can be linked directly together as we see fit. Currently, the smart thermostat, cameras and other connected gear that you have scattered throughout your house probably don't talk to each other and can't be paired for specific tasks. That's where the Reality Editor comes in.

Inside the app, a Minority Report-like augmented reality overlay displays an object's features when you point a smartphone's camera at it. Let's say you wanted to automatically change the temperature in your house when you hop in bed for the night. All you would have to do is point the app at the thermostat, then use it to draw/swipe a circuit-like connection to your smart bed. Yes, we know smart beds don't exist. In an increasingly connected world, though, they could certainly be on the way. And when they arrive, an app like this could go along way in making all of the devices in your house play together.

What's more, you can also "borrow" features from one object and use them on another. For example, you could use your TV's sleep timer as a way to switch your lights on and off or have the air conditioning at your house adjust the temperature when you get in the car to come home. As Fast Company put its, it's like IFTTT, but rather than connecting apps and actions, it leverages the tools of physical objects.

Reality Editor is the result of three years of research, and yes, it really works. Right now, it uses QR-like codes to identify smart gadgets. In the future, this won't be a requirement as the app will be able to identify the objects when they're viewed with the app. Of course, there aren't any devices that support Reality Editor's open-source Open Hybrid platform just yet, but Heun thinks that will change as people look to do more than just put their homes in automatic mode controlled by a bunch of gadgets.

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