Are we living in the future? Maybe not quite yet, but this month’s tech news makes it seem like we’re not far off. 

Amazon Astro

With a name inspired by futuristic cartoon The Jetsons, the Amazon Astro is hoping to usher in a high-tech, Space Age-like reality in our homes. The Astro is a household robot and while (currently) unable to perform the day-to-day tasks of Rosie, the robot who cooked and cleaned for the Jetsons, it has quite a few interesting tricks up its electronic sleeve.

The Astro can follow users around the home with ease; its wheels, navigation abilities, and Visual ID (allowing it to recognize members of a household) make it possible to locate people, deliver drinks or food from the cargo area, or send messages and reminders. It can also act as a mobile home security camera, alerting when it detects people in the home that it does not recognize or allowing you to check in on any part of your home while you’re away. It’s compatible with Alexa Routines and acts as a portable virtual assistant. This is just the first iteration of Amazon’s home robot, and we’re excited to see what’s to come. 

Sound-proofing Inspired by Nature

Taking a cue from biomimicry, researchers from the University of Bristol have recently shown that we can look to something as small and humble as the moth to inform our approach to building acoustics. 

Impressed by the abilities of moths to elude the echolocation calls of bats, a team of researchers tested the capability of moth wings to absorb sound. When they placed them on a surface that reflects sound, they discovered that the thin, delicate moth wings could absorb nearly 90% of the incoming sound waves. Lead investigators called this a remarkable discovery. The structure of moth wings may be replicated and used in any number of applications, but especially in homes and buildings for sound mitigation. They believe that moth wings will someday soon inspire ultrathin sound-absorbing wallpaper. 

Perovskite Solar Cells Become Viable

Solar energy has been popular for decades, but a recent advancement means that silicon-based cells, which are the industry standard, may have a new, more sustainable and energy-efficient competitor. Perovskite, a mineral with a crystalline structure, was once dismissed as a possible component in solar cells due to its fragility and exceedingly short lifespan. 

New developments by a team at Princeton have extended the life of a perovskite solar cell from mere minutes to an estimated thirty years, greater than current industry standards for silicon cells. Perovskite solar cells are also easier to produce. While silicon solar cells need to be forged at nearly 3000 degrees Fahrenheit, perovskite cells can be made at room temperature. The ability to make these cells in a wide range of applications is also exciting; the same team has made a transparent version that could convert windows into solar energy producers without obscuring the view. 

This month’s tech news was filled with advancements that have us excited about the present and looking forward with anticipation to what will be possible in home tech in the future.

Responsive Living, the term coined by Acoustic Architects founders, Aaron Flint and Spencer Hauldren, is the concept of seamlessly enhancing the client’s unique lifestyle using smart home technology. Responsive Living allows you to interact with your space via touch input, voice command, and predictive automation, placing you in full control of your home.

If you would like to learn more about integrating new systems into your smart home system, feel free to connect with us. We will be happy to schedule a demo with you.

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