An E-Couch – new directions in smart home control

“Controlling devices in a smart home often requires users to start and use an app on their phone. This can be cumbersome (especially with increasing sizes of device ensembles) and puts demands on a user’s attention or engagement they might not be willing or able to fulfill.”

– prompting a research team from the University of Hannover, Germany, to develop and test a smart-couch concept – called the “CapCouch”. The idea is to relieve consumers from having to interact with an app, by electronically sensing how they’re sitting on their sofa.

“We used our couch and device ensemble to prototype a smart living room scenario. In this scenario, the system has been trained by observing how a user usually behaves when on his couch. Now, when he comes home and sits down on the couch, the lamp next to the couch switches on and the display shows a welcome message. The user scoots back, sitting more comfortably, and starts checking his phone. The couch detects this posture change and the system starts to play some music. Once done with his phone, he leans back on the couch, assuming a relaxed position to watch some TV. This is also picked up by the couch, which triggers the system to suspend music playback and switch the screen to display of broadcast TV (this is shown in Figure 2). As time passes, the user grows tired and decides to lay down on the couch. This triggers the lights to switch off and the TV to stop running. Instead, a fireplace scene is displayed to further facilitate a relaxing atmosphere.”

The team do point out though, that :

“An open question with systems such as the CapCouch is how to make sure implicit behavior is not annoying for users.”

See: CapCouch: Home Control With a Posture-Sensing Couch, from: Adjunct Proceedings of the 2015 ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing and Proceedings of the 2015 ACM International Symposium on Wearable Computers.

Coming Soon : ‘E-Trousers’ (that’s ‘E-Pants’, US)