Lifestyle

There’s an app for that

MIT’s Reality Editor offers view of a more connected future

Reality Editor

Like most things that get by on their intelligence, the vast array of smart objects now available to us could use a little help with their social lives. Home automation systems like Nest and Hue are all well and good, but they’re not much use if they can’t bear talking to each other. And with each new system we smartify, we get yet another app to tap, more menus to navigate, more work instead of less. No, future, no.

The Fluid Interfaces department at MIT’s Media Lab has spent three years developing an open source platform and user-friendly Reality Editor app that could turn your smart home into a well-oiled machine (just with no oil or machines). Creator Valentin Heun refers to it as a “digital screwdriver.” Imagine the lock on your office door triggering your car to start, or the bass in your car going up as the windows go down. There are a million ways this hyper-connected augmented reality could be put to use, but for now, there’s just one way to toy around with it.

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PRO: Seeing this technology at work in the videos posted by MIT is like looking into the future promised by dozens of movies, just with no sign of Tom Cruise, which is even better. Both the Reality Editor app and the Open Hybrid platform are now available for users to start tinkering around.

CON: Those tinkerers, for now, will have to be somewhat techie. No consumer products support Open Hybrid out of the box (yet), but savvy users ready for a challenge can make a lot happen with a few key items and a little practice. In the meantime, the rest of you can set your Nest to cool your jets.

Michael Andor Brodeur can be reached at mbrodeur@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MBrodeur.
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