Monday, 16 March 2009

Wiring up the house

We had a family trip to the Maker Faire on Saturday afternoon: a large tent filled with stalls where people demonstrate their ability to make things, primarily electronic gadgetry. Husband and son were in their element - making aerodynamic racing cars or contraptions that can carry a creme egg down a steep slope (my son particularly delighted about being able to keep the egg at the end!) My daughter and I? Cold, bored, fed up after a quick look round. And frightened by the mechanical horse (my daughter, rather than me: I conceded that this was an amazing piece of engineering).

Saturday night: husband spent a long time on-line researching some of the new initiatives he'd seen.

Sunday morning: he explains to my son how we can wire up the computer to a circuit board and control lights from there. They can come on and go off as we decide. Furthermore (and here's the scary bit) this technology can be extended from just the little bulb that is connected to the whole house. 

My son's eyes lit up.

We can set it to be voice sensitive. Walk into the room, say "ON" and the lights come on, "OFF" and the lights go off. We can create a scary burglar alarm. We can control the DS so that it won't work at certain times (son not necessarily quite so happy about that!)

Sunday lunch:
"Daddy, I've been thinking about the lights."

Oh no!

"We can set it up to control other things as well, so the washing machine comes on when we want it to," he says.

"Yes, and we could use sensors so the dishwasher goes on automatically when it knows it is full." My husband is encouraging this thinking.

And now my son gets quite excited. "And we can use it to control robots that will do the work for us. Such as hanging out the washing and folding it away."

Since when has my eight year old had any interest in the mechanics of washing? Oh, I get it - this is to try to get mum on his side.

"And this will save on electricity, only being used when we want it to, and so we'll have money to spend on food."

[I hasten to add: despite the credit crunch I do buy food. And feed it to them. ]


Troy said...

And when it goes wrong you'll have to reboot the whole house!

Catharine Withenay said...

Oh no - I hadn't thought of that.
Can you reboot husband and son at the same time?
(Bit scared that our new house that needs work is just going to be a play/experiment zone for the boys!)

Working mum said...

Following this logic, if you use the robot to do these tasks instead of mummy you can save money on food as well because you won't have to feed the mummmy! (Only joking!)

Catharine Withenay said...

Of course, not feeding the mummy might help the hips... but not the temper!

Motherhood The Final Frontier said...

I'm interested that your son was son interested but daughter so bored by it all. My daughter who is 5 is completely fascinated by all things robotic and electronic (although not at the level your son is, obviously as she is much younger). I'm wondering if more creme eggs might help!

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