Watch the “Smart Home” of the 1980’s in action

Smart Home automation was actually a possibility back in the 1980’s. Today’s smart home gadgets makes all this very easy, but complicated devices like the X-10 Powerhouse and HAL 2000 from decades ago could help you achieve similar results.

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Image: Screengrab via YouTube

With an IBM computer and a Pico Electronics X-10 Powerhouse, you could control lights and other electronics. The X10 used power line wiring to transfer signal and control commands. The signals transferred small radio frequency bursts of 120 kHz which alternated the current waveform, representing digital information. This gave you full control; maybe not in an elegant way compared to today’s standards but it actually worked.

Pico Electronics first developed the system in 1975 and millions of units are actually still being used worldwide.

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The HAL 2000

In the 1990’s we got HAL 2000, the second device tested in the video below. It used voice control to allow control of everything from lighting and appliances and security systems. HAL 2000 even came with an interface for “conditional logic based on sensor events, time of day or programmed modes”. It actually worked pretty well for the era – as long as you stayed very clear in communication and chose your words carefully. If not, you could end up turning on the oven and burn down your house.

In this video, Youtuber Lazy Game Reviews gives you an insight of the technology.

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