Future Macs may simplify home automation
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Future Macs may simplify home automation

An Apple patent (number 20100205528) has appeared at the US Patent & Trademark Office for wireless home and office application management and integration. It provides systems and methods for managing and controlling networked devices.

A system comprises a host application executing on, for example, a personal computer, and one or more networked devices executing a client application. A networked device includes a consumer appliance equipped with network capability, a digital device such as MP3 players and DVRs, an electronically-controlled device such as a light circuit or other type of circuit, and the like. The host application automatically establishes communication with the networked device. The networked device configures a user interface for user control of the networked device. The host application provides a graphical layout of the networked device. The inventors are Clay Bavor and Jesse Levinson.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "The number of appliances and other electronically-controlled devices in homes and businesses has drastically increased. These devices are typically controlled through a local control interface (e.g., buttons or remote controls). Because the devices have can have varying manufacturers and functionalities, their local control interfaces can also vary. For example, an oven can provide controls for temperature and cook time while a television can provide controls for channel selection and volume. Moreover, whereas a television adapted for use as in a sophisticated entertainment center can provide controls for aspect ratio and resolution, a television having an integrated DVD player can provide controls for DVD playback.

"Present attempts to integrate and manage home and office appliances using a personal computer are typically directed to rudimentary solutions limited to the device and communication set-up and other low-level communications. Moreover, these attempts are typically vendor-specific, require hardware set ups of communication cables, and software configuration of drivers and application level controls.

"For example, the X10 technology allows users to control appliances by connecting the appliances to outlets on X10 appliance switching boxes which in turn connect to the wall electrical outlet. The computer can transmit messages to the X10 units with a series of power pulses in the household electrical wiring. However, the X10 technology suffers from serious reliability issues, can send only basic commands to appliances, has limited support for data transmission, and is difficult to set up and use. Software applications for managing X10 appliances are similarly unsophisticated in that the packages provide no intuitive icon- or graphics-based interfaces, make organizing appliances difficult. Also, because of X10's addressing system, the user is subjected to potentially confusing configuration details.

"More recent technologies allow devices such as MP3 stereos and digital video recorders allow to be configured from their personal computer over an Ethernet network. Others devices can communicate via IEEE 802.11b, a wireless networking standard. Nikon offers a professional digital camera with an IEEE 802.11b transmitter for sending photos to a web server via FTP, and some printer manufacturers incorporate wireless chipsets in their products as well. These and similar technologies can require that a user install drivers and other software on the computer before using the device, and perform some setup related to establishing communications, sometimes involving hardware and IP addresses.

"Technologies such as NetSense and UPnP lack sufficient support for various types of controls of devices. In particular, web interfaces using NetSense and UPnP suffer from the limitations of HTML forms, such as the lack of many desirable user interface widgets, including sliders, complex buttons, and drag-and-drop image and file wells.

"Other technologies such as iReady, using Bluetooth as a communication medium, suffer from Bluetooth's well known limitations including an extremely short range, slow transfer speeds, and an inability to see and control all of one's appliances from one location.

"Therefore, there is a need in the field of home automation for systems and methods for intuitive management of networked devices using, for example, graphical layouts, and there is a need for application level control without the need for user configuration of hardware and/or software.

"The present invention provides systems and methods for managing and controlling networked devices. In one embodiment, a system comprises a host application executing on, for example, a personal computer, and one or more networked devices executing a client application. A networked device can include a consumer appliance equipped with network capability, a digital device such as MP3 players and DVRs, an electronically-controlled device such as a light circuit or other type of circuit, and the like.

"The host application automatically establishes communication with the networked device. First, the networked device can automatically access a network (e.g., a wireless network having a DHCP service) on which it can broadcast a network address and service. The host application can sense the broadcast and automatically establish communication with the network appliance while registering the service for availability to a user.

"In another embodiment, the networked device dynamically configures a user interface for user control of the networked device. To do so, the networked device can transmit user interface information that specifies components of a user interface. The user interface information can be structured in an open format. The components are related to application level control of the service provided by the network appliance. For example, the networked device can use XML to format name-value pairs, i.e., names of components and current values associated with the components (e.g., volume slider at 50%, titles of MP3s in a playlist). The host then generates the user interface from a component repository and sets values as indicated by the networked device. The user interface can also display components related to lower level control such as a state of the networked device (e.g., on, off, online, offline, error, and the like) or communications configuration (e.g., IP address, port, network connection, and the like).

"In yet another embodiment, the host application provides a graphical layout of the networked device. Accordingly, the host application can display a floor plan or pictures of the environment containing the networked device (e.g., pictures of a room in a house or office). The networked device can be displayed as a representative icon, allowing the user to double click the icon for gaining access to the user interface.

"Advantageously, the user can remotely control the networked devices from the personal computer with minimal set up and without regard to a specific operating system. In addition, the user interface has a consistent and recognizable format across different networked devices, but is nevertheless customized to capabilities of the networked device. Moreover, the graphical layout eases user management of multiple networked devices."

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Apple GarageBand 10.1 - Complete recordi...
The new GarageBand is a whole music creation studio right inside your Mac -- complete with keyboard, synths, orchestral and percussion instruments, presets for guitar and voice, an entirely... Read more
Duplicate Annihilator 5.7.7 - Find and d...
Duplicate Annihilator takes on the time-consuming task of comparing the images in your iPhoto library using effective algorithms to make sure that no duplicate escapes. Duplicate Annihilator... Read more
OS X Server 4.1.3 - For OS X 10.10 Yosem...
Designed for OS X and iOS devices, OS X Server makes it easy to share files, schedule meetings, synchronize contacts, develop software, host your own website, publish wikis, configure Mac, iPhone,... Read more
Firefox 39.0 - Fast, safe Web browser. (...
Firefox offers a fast, safe Web browsing experience. Browse quickly, securely, and effortlessly. With its industry-leading features, Firefox is the choice of Web development professionals and casual... Read more
pwSafe 4.1 - Secure password management...
pwSafe provides simple and secure password management across devices and computers. pwSafe uses iCloud to keep your password databases backed-up and synced between Macs and iOS devices. It is... Read more
Kodi 15.0.rc1 - Powerful media center to...
Kodi (was XBMC) is an award-winning free and open-source (GPL) software media player and entertainment hub that can be installed on Linux, OS X, Windows, iOS, and Android, featuring a 10-foot user... Read more
Coda 2.5.11 - One-window Web development...
Coda is a powerful Web editor that puts everything in one place. An editor. Terminal. CSS. Files. With Coda 2, we went beyond expectations. With loads of new, much-requested features, a few surprises... Read more
Bookends 12.5.7 - Reference management a...
Bookends is a full-featured bibliography/reference and information-management system for students and professionals. Access the power of Bookends directly from Mellel, Nisus Writer Pro, or MS Word (... Read more
Maya 2016 - Professional 3D modeling and...
Maya is an award-winning software and powerful, integrated 3D modeling, animation, visual effects, and rendering solution. Because Maya is based on an open architecture, all your work can be scripted... Read more
RapidWeaver 6.2.3 - Create template-base...
RapidWeaver is a next-generation Web design application to help you easily create professional-looking Web sites in minutes. No knowledge of complex code is required, RapidWeaver will take care of... Read more

Rage of Bahamut is Giving Almost All of...
The App Store isn't what it used to be back in 2012, so it's not unexpected to see some games changing their structures with the times. Now we can add Rage of Bahamut to that list with the recent announcement that the game is severely cutting back... | Read more »
Adventures of Pip (Games)
Adventures of Pip 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ** ONE WEEK ONLY — 66% OFF! *** “Adventures of Pip is a delightful little platformer full of charm, challenge and impeccable... | Read more »
Divide By Sheep - Tips, Tricks, and Stre...
Who would have thought splitting up sheep could be so involved? Anyone who’s played Divide by Sheep, that’s who! While we’re not about to give you complete solutions to everything (because that’s just cheating), we will happily give you some... | Read more »
NaturalMotion and Zynga Have Started Tea...
An official sequel to 2012's CSR Racing is officially on the way, with Zynga and NaturalMotion releasing a short teaser trailer to get everyone excited. Well, as excited as one can get from a trailer with no gameplay footage, anyway. [Read more] | Read more »
Grab a Friend and Pick up Overkill 3, Be...
Overkill 3 is a pretty enjoyable third-person shooter that was sort of begging for some online multiplayer. Fortunately the begging can stop, because its newest update has added an online co-op mode. [Read more] | Read more »
Scanner Pro's Newest Update Adds Au...
Scanner Pro is one of the most popular document scanning apps on iOS, thanks in no small part to its near-constant updates, I'm sure. Now we're up to update number six, and it adds some pretty handy new features. [Read more] | Read more »
Heroki (Games)
Heroki 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $7.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: CLEAR THE SKIES FOR A NEW HERO!The peaceful sky village of Levantia is in danger! The dastardly Dr. N. Forchin and his accomplice,... | Read more »
Wars of the Roses (Games)
Wars of the Roses 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
TapMon Battle (Games)
TapMon Battle 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: It's time to battle!Tap! Tap! Tap! Try tap a egg to hatch a Tapmon!Do a battle with another tapmons using your hatched tapmons! *... | Read more »
Alchemic Dungeons (Games)
Alchemic Dungeons 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ### Release Event! ### 2.99$->0.99$ for limited time! ### Roguelike Role Playing Game! ### Alchemic Dungeons is roguelike... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

RamDisk4Mac App Helps Run Your Mac Faster And...
Ever use a RAM disk? If you’ve come to the Mac in the OS X era, likely not. The Classic Mac OS had a RAM disk function built-in, but that was dropped in the conversion to OS X. What is a RAM disk?... Read more
13-inch 1.6GHz MacBook Air on sale for $849,...
Best Buy has the 2015 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for $849.99 on their online store this weekend. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale price for online orders... Read more
Apple Refurbished iMacs available for up to $...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished iMacs available for up to $380 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac – $1949 $... Read more
Apple refurbished 2014 13-inch Retina MacBook...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 13″ Retina MacBook Pros available for up to $400 off original MSRP, starting at $979. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and... Read more
Seagate Backup Plus Drives Feature 200GB of C...
Seagate Technology plc has announced that its Backup Plus family of external storage offerings will now include 200GB of OneDrive cloud storage, a major added value, and the addition of Lyve’s photo... Read more
Canon PIXMA MG3620 Wireless Inkjet All-in-One...
Canon U.S.A., Inc. has announced the PIXMA MG3620 Wireless (1) Inkjet All-in-One (AIO) printer for high-quality photo and document printing. Built with convenience in mind for the everyday home user... Read more
July 4th Holiday Weekend 13-inch MacBook Pro...
Save up to $150 on the purchase of a new 2015 13″ Retina MacBook Pro at the following resellers this weekend. Shipping is free with each model: 2.7GHz/128GB MSRP $1299 2.7GHz/... Read more
27-inch 3.5GHz 5K iMac on sale for $2149, sav...
Best Buy has the 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac on sale for $2149.99. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale price for online orders only, in-store prices may vary. Their price is $... Read more
Apple now offering refurbished 2015 11-inch...
The Apple Store is now offering Apple Certified Refurbished 2015 11″ MacBook Airs as well as 13″ MacBook Airs (the latest models), available for up to $180 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-... Read more
15-inch 2.5GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for...
Amazon.com has the 15″ 2.5GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $2274 including free shipping. Their price is $225 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model. Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Music Producer - Apple (United State...
**Job Summary** Apple Music seeks a Producer to help shepherd some of the most important content and editorial initiatives within the music app, with a particular focus Read more
Editor, *Apple* News - Apple (United States...
**Job Summary** Editor, Apple News The Apple News team is looking for passionate, knowledgeable editors to help identify and deliver the best in breaking national, Read more
*Apple* Watch SW Application Project Manager...
**Job Summary** The Apple Watch software team is looking for an Application Engineering Project Manager to work on new projects for Apple . The successful candidate Read more
Engineering Project Manager - *Apple* Searc...
**Job Summary** Apple 's new Spotlight Suggestions service provides fast, relevant search results from the Inte et in Spotlight and Safari on iOS and OS X. We are looking Read more
Business Development Manager - *Apple* Pay...
**Job Summary** Apple Pay is seeking an experienced relationship manager to support the ongoing management of partners for the Apple Pay platform. This position will Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.