Archive for the ‘Automation’ Category

Microsoft to release SDK for Kinect

22 Feb

When I did my DDD9 talk on Home Automation, I suggested that the Kinect device would soon be included into the Home Automation space. Adding natural gesture recognition sounds like a good fit in this market space. Well, yesterday this took a step nearer when Microsoft released an SDK for Kinect on Windows.

With the initial release expected in the spring, the first version will aimed at the hobbyist developer and non-commercial uses. It will however, allow access to all the fun stuff in the Kinect, such as Audio, 3D cameras, range finding etc. A commerical version of the software development kit will be available later on in the year.

Heres a link to the official release from Microsoft Research Labs in Cambridge.


Home Automation: Kinect Edition

11 Feb

During my talk at DD9 a couple of weeks ago, I discussed various different approaches to Domotics (that the posh word for home automation;-)). One of those ideas I suggested was to make use of Microsofts excellent Kinect and its depth perception cameras.

Great minds think alike, obviously, as I notice an entry on showing exactly that!

Channel4 news ran a promotion on some of the stuff Microsoft are doing in Redmond, and beside the computer guided cars, theres a tour of the Microsoft house, where everything is controlled by touch, voice and gesture.

You can watch the video for yourself here.

Very very cool!


DDD9 – The Home Automation talk

03 Feb

John Price at DDD9

Last Saturday, I was at DDD9 at Microsoft Uk in Reading. As usual it was an excellent day, full of buzz.

I did a session on Home Automation, but you know me, its never an ordinary session, and this one came for the Captains Ready Room and on the Holodeck, on board the USS Enterprise.;-)

I’d like to thank all those people that came along – it was a packed room with people standing at the back and sitting on the floor at the front – Your support and attention meant a lot to me.

I’d also like to thank Charles Adams for driving down from the midlands, just so he could inject some anecdotes about setting up and operating his X10 equipped house.

During the session I said I had a X10 Starter Kit to give away. It contains an X10 PC Controller, a Light Module, an Appliance Module and a copy of Vista Home software to run it all.

My intention was to give this away on the day, but that proved to be a little difficult – so I thought I’d do it online and post the stuff out.

To have a chance of winning this, leave me a comment with a suggestion of what you consider might be a good use of home automation, and I’ll pick out my favourite. I know that the DDD guys are sending a link out to the slides so hopefully everyone should see this.

I’ll close the competition, put up the suggestions and notify the winner a couple of weeks after the link goes out.

You can download the slides from here


Speaking at DDD this month

03 Jan

First a big thanks to all of you that voted for my session (Tea, Earl Grey, Hot) for DDD9 at Microsoft Reading later this month!

Its all about home automation, and while I have a plan (honest!)  I’d thought I might try something a little different and ask if theres anything specific people might want to see how to go about automating. Now, if no one comes up with anything, thats ok, as I say I have a plan anyways, but I might just find some cool swag for any suggestions I use… (no not £250 and I wont promise to return your suggestions either!)

Hope to see you there. Even if you dont end up coming to my session, do say hi.

PS. If this DDD registration is anything to go by you need to be ready to register PRONTO! Last time it took less than 15 minutes to get to full, this time its likely to be faster still.

Check out for the definitive details, but I think the plan is to open registration tomorrow(4th Jan) @ 13:37 (ish)… Just be careful not to break the F5 key..!


DDD In January

17 Dec

I’ve some sessions up for consideration for the next DDD which is January 30th 2011 in Reading.

My proposed sessions are:

Computer, earl grey tea, hot

Ok, so this is a little more difficult to arrange with home automation, but controlling lights, heating, curtains and just about every other device in your house just by talking to it, is actually Science Fact. Take a tour around our automated house and see whats possible with a little effort.

Media Center and Windows Home Server – Marriage in your living room

With the newest version of Windows Home Server, codename Vail, out soon, this talk will be what having your own server in your home.
No, you dont have to have a temperature controlled room, and lots of noisy fans and cables.
What you do get though is a way of shring media around your house and protection from deleting an important file from your laptop, with automatic backups.
Media center can schedule TV recording and ask Windows Home Server to distribute it around the house…
Theres loads more, but you’ll have to listen to the session for that..;-)

Fitting a new kitchen sync – oData, oData, oh oh oh!

At PDC10 in October, Microsoft announced an update to the Sync Framework. Its one heck of an update though, adding a load of functionality to make sync’ing to Silverlight, Windows Phone 7 clients so much easier, including built in classes for oData formats, particuarly moving just about all of the processing off into the service side, enabling the client to be a slim as possible. We’ll take a look at this new sync stuff, and its new tooling to see how it can significantly improved the user experience when a network is not available, without adding a load of work to the developer

If you’d like to hear these sessions, then you need to vote for them! You can do so by going here, ticking the boxes next to the sessions you like, then clicking on the vote button at the top or bottom of the page.

You can find out more about DDD at