Blast from the past--a look at voice recognition 10+ years ago

Blast from the past–a look at voice recognition 10+ years ago

Blast from the past--a look at voice recognition 10+ years ago

Hi guys! This is a follow-up to Monday’s post, where we talked a bit about what you can do with voice recognition and home automation.  Today we travel back in time to circa 2000, to take a look at what Jim Lipsit did with voice recognition technology and HAL 2000.

Jim has quite a sense of humor!  Just listen to  how he customized his computer’s responses  (“Where do think I am? I’m trapped in your computer room for the rest of my life!”) .  And check out how he incorporates that oh-so-popular song “Who Let the Dogs Out” (yes, once upon a time it was cool–and still going strong on YouTube).   Just goes to show that voice recognition has been around for quite a while–and you could do a lot even back then–but it’s getting even more advanced and easier to use these days.  It’ll be interesting to see what we’ll be able to 10 years from now!

Check out Jim’s video below, and view his web post here. He shares a lot of really good information about how he set up climate control, his security system, and many automated home entertainment options with voice control–even though most of the technology has been updated since his post.  (And hopefully he’s moved past the 90′s and gotten a new couch since then, and replaced the Miami Vice-style glass-block in his living room.)


Green Sustainable Technology Carnival Vol. 01

Green Sustainable Technology Carnival Vol. 01

Green Sustainable Technology Carnival Vol. 01

Welcome to the first ever edition of the Green Sustainable Technology Carnival! The response was excellent, a big thank you to everyone who submitted. Awareness is one of the first steps toward change, and there are a lot of green, sustainable, and energy-efficient technologies available to us.

Given the success of this edition, I am planning to continue this Blog Carnival on a biweekly basis – so if you want to be featured on this blog, please submit it to our carnival submission form. The deadline for the next carnival is on September 30, 2009.

Thank you again to everyone who submitted their posts for this edition.


Igor presents Imagination: The Path To A Renewable Energy Future posted at ENERGY IDEALIST.

Martin Andrews presents How To Make Solar Power Guide posted at Natural Energy Revealed, saying, “Let’s make the big switch to solar, for a better life and a safe tomorrow for generations to come. Make your own solar powered energy, save money and feel good about it.”

Suzane Smith presents 50 Travel Nurses You Can Follow and Learn From on Twitter posted at LVN to RN.

Katy Unitek presents The Solar Industry’s Immense Opportunity – Boots on the Roof posted at Boots On The Roof, saying, “My company, Boots on the Roof is the Green Degree training and certification division of Unitek, a long-running private school with a proven track record of certification-based and degree-based education programs in various technical and health care fields. Having successfully partnered with professional organizations nationwide to train tens of thousands of students, Unitek opened the Boots on the Roof division specifically to cater to the immense training demands in the Renewable Energy sector.”

Igor presents Renewable Energy: The Key To More Jobs And Less Dependence On Oil – ENERGY IDEALIST posted at ENERGY IDEALIST.

Fiona Leonard presents Year In America: Emergency Response Studio posted at Year In America, saying, “A New York artist converts a “toxic tin can” trailer into a sustainable off-grid vehicle”

Gin G. presents New Energy-Battery Bank posted at Sense Scribe, saying, “Learn part of the Wind Energy system and more.”

Condo Blues presents How I Slashed my Electric Bills without Moving into a Yurt posted at Condo Blues.

Shannon Wills presents 50 iPhone Apps That Will Make You Much Healthier posted at Physical Therapy Assistant Schools.

Martin Andrews presents Do It Yourself Solar Power – Construct It the Accurate Way posted at Natural Energy Revealed, saying, “Solar power …

Crestron and Kinect Start Thinking Outside of the X-Box

Crestron and Kinect Start Thinking Outside of the X-Box

Crestron and Kinect Start Thinking Outside of the X-Box

Just when you thought gamers were the only ones who got to use the really cool stuff, Crestron comes along with an idea to integrate their remote control technology with the Microsoft Kinect visual activation used in the Xbox 360. And apparently Crestron has been testing a new technology by Microsoft that allows the gesture/motion activation Kinect technology to be supported on any Windows-based system–not solely on Xbox. (And thanks to member Dan B. for sending this my way!)


All you game peeps already know what Kinect can do, right? Not only does it recognize your game avatar with a wave of your hand, you can access the console without a controller by just jumping around in front of the sensor – or you can utilize voice activated commands to switch between your choice of games or movies.  And I thought that remote controls turned people into couch potatoes! Now all you have to do is tell your TV what to do…

So why is Crestron’s innovation exciting for the rest of the non-gaming world?  Think about giving a presentation and being able to move through a slide presentation or control lighting with a wave of your hand (like in the video below). Or how about changing your TV channel with a flick of your wrist–no remote required! That resolves the issue of losing the remote control in the couch pillows, eh? I am a bit concerned how this might work for people who tend to “talk with their hands” – but I think I could get used to it.

Take a look at the video of Jeff Singer (Crestron’s Director of Global Marketing Campaigns – does that title even fit on a business card?)  at Integrated Systems Europe 2012 in Amsterdam, showing how this technology works.

Crestron has always given us fantastic remote control options, and I think the possibilities of combining these controls is truly exciting. Kinect for Windows is specifically geared towards business applications (right now they are focusing on education, healthcare and retail markets). Check out the details here to find out where Microsoft wants to incorporate this innvovative new control feature.

Although I do think this is going to be tricky for the folks who tend to get all active while watching TV – if you’re the type who likes to–ahem–”gesture” at the players on the field or yell out ideas for the next play, you may want to switch back to hand-held controls to …

Dive in! Extreme over-the-top swimming pools you wish you had

Dive in! Extreme over-the-top swimming pools you wish you had

Dive in! Extreme over-the-top swimming pools you wish you had

I’ve mostly been showing you home automation that is useful, practical and (for the most part) well within reason.

But … I’ve been neglecting a side of home improvement that deserves some special attention. I’m talking about just-for-fun home improvement. And not just any plain old “just for fun” project (although those certainly have a place in my heart too, if you couldn’t already tell).

I’m talking about the projects that are so over-the-top you who was crazy enough to think up that idea. And who was crazier still to buy it and install it in their home?

And then a few seconds later … you want one for yourself.

Since it’s almost the end of summer, here are some of the most fun and extreme swimming pool systems that I could find. And don’t worry, there’s plenty of automation going on here.


Extreme Pool #1 – Hydrofloors

If you’ve ever dreamed of dancing on a hydraulic floor, you’ll want this. This pool system, conceived by Belgium-based HydroFloors, lets you convert your swimming pool into a dance floor, and vice versa. Pretty nifty.


Extreme Pool #2 – MUNTANDOR

This bad boy, created by Extreme Exclusive transforms your outdoor pool and patio into an indoor pool and patio.


Extreme Pool #3 – Last but not least…

This last one … well … just for kicks and giggles…

It's an art to find stylish ways to hide your TV

It's an art to find stylish ways to hide your TV


It's an art to find stylish ways to hide your TV

When it comes to combining style and saving space, this option gets two thumbs up! I’ve seen this done before where you slide the actual framed picture off to one side to reveal the television, but this is the high-tech version that’s so much more sleek.

This was one of my favorites–over the fireplace and something that I bet can be a fairly easy DIY! Looks like the controls are set with a smart phone as well.

Here’s another way to hide your TV in style with a piece of artwork on one side, and a TV on the other. Though it does require some manual labor, it’s very nicely done. I especially like how you can place the columns back in on either side and you would never know it’s movable.

And lastly…well, this isn’t on the top of the practical list, but I had to give it kudos for creativity! Kind of reminds me of one of those hydraulic tricked-out cars that hops along.  It looks like this table is going to take off on its own any minute!