The neural network house:
An environment that adapts to its inhabitants

Although the prospect of computerized homes has a long history, home automation has never become terribly popular because the benefits are seldom seen to outweigh the costs. One significant cost of an automated home is that someone has to program it to behave appropriately. Typical inhabitants do not want to program simple devices such as VCRs, let alone a much broader range of electronic devices, appliances, and comfort systems that have even greater functionality. As an alternative, we describe a project in which the goal is for the home to essentially program itself by observing the lifestyle and desires of the inhabitants, and learning to anticipate and accommodate their needs. The system we have developed controls basic residential comfort systems-air heating, lighting, ventilation, and water heating. We have constructed a prototype system in an actual residence, and describe initial results and the current state of the project.

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