April 22, 2009 Once a new technology hits the deck we are constantly surprised by the different scenarios in which it gets applied, so I guess that means we should have seen this one coming. iHouse has unveiled a new concept product which brings facial recognition - a feature we've only recently become accustomed to seeing in digital cameras and security applications - into the home bathroom. Dubbed the SmartFaucet, this indulgent piece of plumbing recognizes you when you stand in front of it and delivers water flow and temperature to suit your individual tastes, all while checking your email on the inbuilt touch-screen.
The SmartFaucet's screen sits at a 45-degree angle in the position you would normally find the tap handle, and along with access to toothbrushing necessities like email and calendar, you can also see what temperature it is outside. LED's at the leading edge change color to indicate temperature, which does seem a little over the top - even for this concept - although perhaps it does add to the Jetsons flavor of the design. Space age design aside, tere is one very practical and serious application of this idea that immediately springs to mind - it could be a way to stop small children getting scalded.
The innovative tap is part of a high-tech loft built by iHouse for the FEICON construction show in Brazil last month which extends the use of facial recognition beyond the bathroom. The company also showcased Fadec, a more general application of the technology that would be used to control air conditioning, shades, lights, or tie in with other iHouse products like the Smarthydro intelligent bath.