Microsoft Home Fact Sheet

About the Microsoft Home

The Microsoft®
Home is a prototyping facility that explores how technology may improve people’s lives in the future. The Microsoft Home puts a new twist on familiar environments — such as the kitchen, family room, dining room, office, entertainment room and bedroom — to showcase how people might get more done, have more fun and stay connected in the not-too-distant future.

The Microsoft Home celebrated its 10th anniversary on Sept. 28. The current update of the Microsoft Home uses the latest technologies to demonstrate how daily life can be improved and experiences enhanced inside the house.

The original Microsoft Home facility opened in 1994. It is currently housed in Microsoft Corp.’s Executive Briefing Center on the company’s Redmond, Wash., campus.

The Microsoft Home is developed and managed by Microsoft’s Consumer Strategy and Prototyping Team.

A Decade of Innovation

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Microsoft Home, Microsoft has updated and enhanced it with new technology for living, including the following:

  • Radio frequency identification (RFID) tags

  • Voice command recognition software

  • Facial recognition software

  • Smart card capability

  • Multisensory experiences (lighting, sound)

  • Seamless displays (glass, plastic, fabric)

  • Gesture recognition

Tour Highlights

  • “Open Sesame.” The Microsoft Home uses a biometric palm reader to identify individuals, open the door and allow residents to enter.

  • A warm welcome home. The Microsoft Home readies itself for people by playing music, opening the blinds and turning on the lights. Invisible controls, which can be summoned from inside a wall, provide an update on the status of family members as well as messages and appointments.

  • Mood lighting. The Microsoft Home can alter the look of a room to match a person’s mood. By altering the lights to dim, intensify, flash or change color, the Microsoft Home easily adapts to specific activities such as reading a book, watching a movie or simply relaxing.

  • Now you’re cooking. The Microsoft Home knows what’s in the cupboard and can display on countertops recipes calling for the ingredients cooks already have on hand. To make cooking even easier, food items labeled with bar codes can be read by the microwave oven and cooked automatically.

  • Getting in the game. Gaming technology in the entertainment room allows residents to use devices such as a Tablet PC or digital camera as well as game controllers to enjoy interactive online games. Using a gaming device similar to today’s Xbox®
    , residents can play a game that challenges players to identify and find personal items in the home to earn points or rewards.

  • Mirror, mirror on the wall. The teenager’s bedroom features a smart closet mirror that incorporates gesture recognition technology to help people decide what to wear. When clothing is held up to the mirror, it recognizes the items by RFID tags and intelligently matches them with other items in the closet. The mirror even knows what’s at the dry cleaners.

  • Juggling work and life. The office features smart card technology, which allows a resident to access information files from work on the desktop and through a corporate intranet. The smart card also helps manage how and when co-workers can reach residents, and ensures that personal information stays private.

  • Digital content at residents’ fingertips. Smart card readers in the Microsoft Home offer access to exclusive digital media content designed to extend the experience of a special event, concert or show. With a card from a concert, residents could get privileges to additional music tracks, Web links or video to play in the Microsoft Home.

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