House Of Coates: San Francisco Designer Teaches His House How To Tweet

WOW: Techie Teaches His House How To Tweet
bright picture of man holding...
bright picture of man holding...

People often wonder what their homes would say, "if these walls could talk."

Pioneering San Francisco-based technologist Tom Coates answered that question by actually teaching his house how to talk -- through the art of tweeting.

Using a system of web apps and inexpensive electronic equipment, Coates has transformed his home, located on an unassuming alley in San Francisco's Mission District, into a quietly futuristic place where internet-connected temperature controls, motion sensors and even a wired ficus monitor everything that's happening and simultaneously broadcast that information out into the Twitter-verse.

Using the handle @houseofcoates, the house reports on its activity with tweets like:

It can also act as a security measure by tweeting at Coates to let him know that it has detected movement:

Naturally, other Twitter users have tried to interact with the house. In those cases, Coates admits that he steps in and speaks for his humble abode. "It's almost like the house has become a sort of pet I look after, and it expresses that being-looked-after-ness back to me," Coates told the MIT Technology Review. "It's like a Tamagotchi or something."

Coates, an award-winning blogger who was one of the earliest widely-read adopters of the format, is the co-founder of The Product Club, a company exploring whether the functionality of everyday objects improves by equipping them with intelligent sensors. For example, a refrigerator that can tell when you run out of milk and automatically puts it on your shopping list.

One potential drawback of your house automatically posting everything that happens inside it to Twitter? Security issues. It's a lot easy to break into someone's home if that home just told everyone on Twitter that no one was in it.

And privacy concerns aren't the only things could potentially go wrong with an always-connected house. For example, what happens if the House of Coates turns into the haunted House of Coates?:

Visit the home's official Twitter feed here.

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