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Art Imitates Life

RFID helped a family get the most out of their house.
By Jonathan Collins
Aug 01, 2006—Last fall, we quipped that Project: Life-which used RFID to track a British family 24/7 in their home to learn how lifestyle is influenced by house design-could be a TV reality show (September/October 2005). Apparently, TalkbackThames, the producers of the U.K.'s Channel 4 series Honey I Ruined the House, liked the idea.

In each episode, host Naomi Cleaver and a team of designers show homeowners how to fix their own decorating disasters. As part of that solution, they evaluate how the family uses their house.

Naomi Cleaver, host of the U.K.'s "Honey, I Ruined the House"

In the first season, family members were asked to keep a log specifying which rooms they were in and for how long. But most weren't diligent about filling in the logs. So for the second season, the show turned to Wavetrend Technologies-the RFID company that designed and deployed the tracking system for Project: Life-to automate the process.

In a recent episode, an RFID network deployed in a London home found that the family spent 80 percent of its time in the living room and the bedrooms, barely using 50 percent of the house's floor space. After the redesign, the family was tagged again. They are now enjoying their entire home.

"We thought people would shy away from the technology, but they embraced it and it became something to show their friends," says Dane Grant, systems engineer at Wavetrend Technologies. "Sometimes the reader was placed on the coffee table as a conversation piece."
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