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And, in what may seem a surprising twist, here social technology is working the way it should. For those who rely on them, new gadgets and apps are lessening — rather than causing — the many anxieties associated with real estate.
So it is with Tom Coates’s San Francisco home, which live-tweets the movements of its many gadgets. The account, bearing the dignified title @HouseofCoates, updates the world, and the house’s more than 1,000 followers, on the lighting in the kitchen, the temperature in the sitting room and the frequency with which Mr. Coates weighs himself. For a time, it also tweeted the result. “I have stopped doing that recently because I’ve put on a ton of weight,” he said.
A self-described early adopter, Mr. Coates, 41, became obsessed with the idea of web-connected sensors several years ago, and outfitted his home with more than he can count. He has light switches that are controlled by his iPhone, a device that measures whether his plants need water, a motion sensor that informs him, via Twitter, anytime someone unexpectedly enters the sitting room, and, of course, that tweeting scale.
These gadgets belong to a category of machines that perform rudimentary tasks, like measuring the temperature or detecting motion, but also connect to the Internet. The idea that unifies these products is known as the Internet of Things, and their broad ambition is to be just like everyday appliances — except smarter.
Start-ups aimed at solving problems in the home with artificial intelligence have multiplied in recent years. And Google’s recent purchase of Nest, which produces smart smoke detectors and thermostats, was widely viewed as a sign that the connected home is pushing its way into the mainstream.
“All this stuff,” Mr. Coates said, “has made me feel like I have a sense of what’s going on in my house from a distance, and that it’s O.K.”
He has programmed the gizmos in his living space to talk to Twitter every time they do something of note, such as turning off lights when it’s bright outside or turning them on when it’s not. This was partly to put all of their incessant jabbering in a central location, but mostly, he said, for fun. “It’s a toy that I have,” he said.
The people who follow @HouseofCoates on Twitter sometimes respond to the house’s tweets, and occasionally Mr. Coates logs into the account and responds to their messages directly.
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