Intel's smart tiny house is a living lab for the connected homes of the future

Intel smart tiny house
© Intel

Smart home systems and tiny houses don't have to be mutually exclusive, and could even be complementary to each other, as Intel's model showcase for its Internet of Things (IoT) platform illustrates.

Tiny houses seem to have a bit of a reputation for only being ultra-rustic or primitive in design or materials, or intended only for minimalist or off-grid living, but we try our hardest here at TreeHugger to put that reputation to bed, as many of the tiny houses we feature tend to offer a healthy dose of innovative design and advanced materials. Instead of just being an expanded and upgraded version of the garden shed, some high-tech new tiny homes are starting to include features and hardware that may eventually make their way into the construction of standard homes, such as sensors, control, and automation technology.

It's completely possible to build a "smart" house that's actually pretty dumb, all things considered, because no amount of automation is going to overcome physical design flaws, such as not being insulated or shaded sufficiently, and it's possible to build a "dumb" house that makes a lot more sense, without a lot of high-tech additions, and which can also make us happier, as Lloyd sees it. However, most of what's called "smart" in the design and building industry tends to be gadget-centric, and not necessarily built with appropriate and accessible technology and this project from Intel falls right in line with that trend.

This experimental showcase model from Intel is intended to show what's possible with the company's IoT innovations as applied to a smart tiny home of about 210 square feet. Here's a quick tour:

According to the results of a recent survey conducted for Intel, about 70% of Americans "are confident that smart homes will be as commonplace as smartphones within 10 years" and that security, ease of use, reliability, and simple installation of smart home devices will be key elements for customer satisfaction. The current smart home devices and platforms on the market leave a lot to be desired when it comes to the those key elements, so Intel's foray into the tiny smart house is an attempt to demonstrate the tech company's intentions for addressing these issues, ranging "from interoperability to security to actionable data outputs" as well as its ability to provide both hardware and software, as well as the "power of the cloud" to make future homes "truly“ smart.

"In order to address the current industry issues, Intel has developed the Intel Smart Home Development Acceleration Platform to connect “things” in the home. It was created to overcome immediate operability issues that arise between connected devices, technology platforms and third-party service providers. The kit, optimized for Intel processors, supports and manages development environments for a range of capabilities and compute needs – from basic hubs to connecting devices securely to advanced home controllers that provide audio, video and voice analytics – helping developers build and deploy new apps while ensuring compatibility across OS updates. The platform allows OEMs to focus on larger product goals and deployment strategies and build with a common platform in mind." - Intel

According to Intel, this tiny connected home, based on the company's Smart Home Development Acceleration Platform, is intended to function as a "living lab" over the next 12 to 16 months in order to "explore the possibilities that the Internet of Things holds for the home." The home was designed and built by Minim Homes and the interior was designed by Kyle Schuneman.

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