iSpace offers unique test bed for smart homes technologies

  • Date

    Thu 19 Jul 18

Pepper robot in iSpace

The iSpace laboratory at the University of Essex has been revamped to become a world-leading test bed for smart homes technologies and the Internet of Things.

The upgraded laboratory at the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering includes voice recognition, movement sensors and mixed reality capabilities.

Professor Hani Hagras explained: “The iSpace is all about using technology to help improve people’s lives in the future and nothing compares with this university-based facility that will enable us to develop artificial intelligence technologies which can speak to each other and learn from people so they adapt to individual’s needs.”

The iSpace is a fully-functioning, self-contained flat so it can be used to develop ideas and then be tested out on people living in a real-life environment to help the scientists understand what type of future technologies can help homes in the future.

From increasing the quality of life of elderly and disabled people in their own homes to helping busy families know the best time to put on the washing machine, the advantages of smart technologies in the home are endless.

The initial challenge of the scientists working in the iSpace is to adapt off-the-shelf smart technologies so they speak to each other and can be controlled from anywhere. From getting Google to close your curtains to Amazon Echo turning on the washing machine, the team working at the iSpace are building the backbone for sensory computer devices which can control everything from anywhere.

The iSpace will also be available to external companies and other departments at Essex to use as part of their research and the Babylab in the Department of Psychology is already looking into using the facility.