Technology: Boosting Your Home's IQ

Manufacturers agree on standards for creating the smart house

The twelve-room house that Baseball Hall of Famer Willie McCovey built for himself in the foothills of Woodside, Calif., is as rangy as the 6-ft. 4-in. former slugger. But McCovey's home is not just big; it also has brains. A central computer links reading lights, kitchen appliances, thermostats and burglar alarms. Heating and air conditioning can be programmed to go on in one room but not another. Sprinklers buried in the lawn start up automatically -- and know enough to shut themselves off when it rains. A robot sweeper cleans the surface of a swimming pool, while infrared beams and motion...

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