Researchers at Microsoft have released Lab of Things (LoT), a flexible platform for experimental research that aims to make it easier for homes to be monitored, automated and controlled. Making the home automation products easier to use could have a significant impact on energy consumption. LoT allows researchers to share ideas, codes and participants, further lowering the barrier to evaluating ideas in a diverse range of homes. It enables easy deployment and monitoring of field studies and analysis of data from experiments.
Lab of Things, is built on top of HomeOS software platform and provides the services required for monitoring, updates and storage. LoT represents a centralized virtual dashboard for monitoring and controlling different “smart home” devices. It also provides standards for building “apps” for homes with the HomeOS software that supports discovery and setup of many different devices and can be extended to work with other devices as needed by writing simple drivers that connect to the Lab of Things Platform, which allow researchers to easily store data in the cloud, remotely update their study if they find a problem and monitor the status of the deployments across many different homes.
In a demonstration by Microsoft researcher A.J. Brush, Lab of Things automatically recognized a sensor that detects whether a door is open or closed as soon as it was connected to the same network. Brush could then use a Web interface to configure an alert that would send an e-mail as soon as the sensor detected a door had been opened.
Microsoft researcher Arjmand Samuel says:
‘The Lab of Things software lowers the barrier to deploying field studies in connected homes. It was needed because the challenges of installing and running collections of home automation devices are holding back research into new possible uses for the technology.”
To join Lab of Things download the Lab of Things SDK and Platform from CodePlex. You can start deploying immediately.