Tinker London, 2010-2011

The Homesense project was sparked by an observation that, while smart homes loom large in imagined futures and home automation gadgets are popular DIY projects, commercial smart home technologies are not widely adopted. We proposed that one of the reasons for this is that smart homes are often designed for rigid use scenarios, but people’s home lives vary greatly according to housing and family situations as well as individual personalities and preferences.

A collaboration between Tinker London, EDF, and Lancaster University’s HighWire program, Homesense brings user-led and open-source design processes into smart home development. Six households throughout Europe have volunteered to design, build, document, and live with their own home automation prototypes, using an Arduino-based toolkit and with the help of local experts. By evaluating the projects that the households develop along with their contexts and thought processes, we hope to uncover new directions for smart home innovation.

The Homesense kit was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art’s Talk to Me exhibit from July to November 2011.