Google’s developers could soon create smart lighting applications using the Android @Home platform.
The recent Google I/O’11 conference in San Francisco had some interesting announcements around home automation based on the launch of Android @ Home open source hardware and software for developers.
If Google announce something it tends to grab your attention, especially if it is an open source offering that will rally their worldwide army of developers. What Google have introduced is a platform to develop home automation applications, and they illustrated this using an Android controller connected to an LED lamp with embedded communications. So have they embraced Visible Light Communications? Well no not yet, they worked with the company Lighting Science Group who produced an LED lamp with radio communications.
This is interesting for the VLC community because communications has now been introduced into a light bulb that is essentially wirelessly IP connected. Developers can begin thinking about smart bulb applications, although the application Google demonstrated was simply turning it off and on. I hope that the Lighting Science Group bulb, which is due to be available to developers by the end of the year, will have a small set of commands, not just off and on. In mass production a VLC light bulb will be considerably cheaper than one like this based on radio, since we throw away the expensive antenna and radio circuits. This is clearly not a threat to VLC, quite the opposite in fact.
I am excited to see what compelling applications Android @Home developers will come up with for a smart connected light bulb.