A brand new year starts tonight at midnight, and lots of us are thinking about how we need to change our lives, our bodies, our habits and our homes. Traditionally, the time around New Year's Day has been a time for reflection and for making resolutions about the personal improvements we would like to make.
So here's a question: is there any way that a home automation system can help us keep our New Year's resolutions? I did a little brainstorming, and came up with a short list of ideas and possibilities.
If you watch television at all, you'd know that weight loss is the number one resolution in America. Commercials for diet plans, exercise equipment and gym memberships seem to come at us non-stop during this time of the year. If dropping a few pounds is part of your plans for the new year, how can your house help you wage the Battle of the Bulge?
Good: Programming a sensor on your refrigerator to flash the lights every time you open your refrigerator door.
Even Better: Programming a sensor on your refrigerator to flash the lights, play an audio file of an oinking pig, and send your significant other a text message that says "He's snacking AGAIN!" every time you open your refrigerator door.
Getting More Exercise
Whether it's to lose weight or just to get your heart in better shape, lots of people pledge to exercise more in the new year. Lots of people say that, but how many people keep it up beyond the first week or two? Your smart home can go a long way toward keeping you fit with just a few tweaks.
Good: Create a wakeup scene with gradually ramping-up lights and inspirational music that gets you out of bed earlier so you can hit the gym (or go out jogging) before work.
Even Better: Create a wakeup scene that jars you awake with flashing lights and siren noises, then plays the theme music from "Rocky" and flashes photos of bodybuilders and Olympic athletes while you strap on your running shoes.
More Reading, Less Watching
I already read quite a lot, so I wasn't aware that "read more books" is a major resolution for many people. According to the New York Times
, the average American watches 34 hours of television every week. If one of your resolutions includes reducing the number of hours you stare blankly at a television screen, your home control system can help.
Good: Create an announcement agent that displays a gentle reminder after a certain amount of television (one hour? two hours?) has been watched.
Even Better: Enable a keypad passcode that has to be entered in order to turn the television on. Make sure your spouse is the only one who knows the code. Set up a timer so that the television will automatically shut off after a certain amount of time—preferably in the middle of the movie or sports event you're watching.
These are just a few ideas that could be implemented quickly and easily. Can you come up with some additional suggestions?