I’ve been interested in “smart room” technology and home automation for quite a while now.
A few years ago at work, I had the opportunity to write some software to implement a smart room. When it was done, I was able to control things in the room with my voice, use an iPAQ to control things in the room, and ask the room questions.
What kind of questions? It was pretty simple, mainly things like what the current time was, and what the weather was in cities throughout the US. It knew about 1500 different cities in the US, and would say the current weather conditions using a synthesized version of my voice.
My wife wrote some RFID software over in her department, and I was able to use that to control what type of music played when you entered the room. If you like Jazz, it would play Jazz music when you walked in. If someone else liked Classical music, it would play that when they walked in. If you both were in the room at the same time, it would switch to something you both liked — Blues, for example.
I wrote this all up in another page, so if you’re interested, check out my smart room page. I also started a Jini project for home automation that’s now hosted over at Java.net .