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(Try the 30-day trial, or pony up $9.95 per month for a year-long contract.)
Your iFIT-enabled exercise equipment can be controlled (either automatically
by a preset program or live by a trainer) remotely via an Internet connection.
The idea is to provide an environment where you can enjoy working out, be
challenged, track your results, and learn about nutritional planning.
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Chapter 19: More Than Ten Devices . . .

iFit.com can also remotely control more than 100 models of treadmills, ellipti-
cal trainers, stationary bikes, and incline trainers ” from Icon™s NordicTrack,
Pro-Form, Reebok, HealthRider, and Image divisions (www.iconfitness.com).
Each of these has an Ethernet connection into which you can put a wireless
adapter to link your gear to the Internet.

If you don™t like the audio and video programs, you can always get a live
trainer, courtesy of Internet videoconferencing. For 45 minutes and $30, you
see and hear the trainer ” and the trainer sees and hears you. This is a great
use of the wireless-enabled Web cameras that we talk about in Chapter 13.




Your Home Appliances
Most of the attempts to converge the Internet and home appliances have
been prototypes and concept products ” a few products are actually on the
market, but we™d be less than honest if we said that the quantities being sold
were anything but mass market yet.

LGE (www.lge.com) was the first in the world to introduce the Internet
refrigerator ” a Home Network product with Internet access capability ”
in June 2000 (see Figure 19-1). It soon introduced other Internet-based infor-
mation appliance products in the washing machine, air conditioner, and
microwave areas. The Internet refrigerator has a 15-inch detachable touch-
screen that serves as a TV monitor, computer screen, stereo, and digital
camera all in one. You can call your refrigerator from your cell phone, PDA,
or any Internet-enabled device.

LGE also has an Internet air conditioner that allows you to download pro-
grams into the device so that you can have pre-programmed cooling times,
just like with your heating system setbacks. Talk to your Digital Home Theater
to preprogram something stored on your audio server to be playing when
you get home. It™s all interrelated, sharing a network in common. Wireless
plays a part by enabling these devices to talk to one another in the home.

Samsung™s (www.samsungelectronics.com) Digital Network Refrigerator is
equipped with Internet access, a videophone, and a TV. In addition to storing
food, consumers can send and receive e-mail, surf the Net, and watch a
favorite DVD by using the refrigerator™s touchscreen control panel, which
also serves as a detachable wireless enabled handheld computer. Pretty neat.

All of this is still pricey; you™ll spend $6,000 or more on an Internet refrigera-
tor. But the future is one where most appliances have a network interface (and
predominantly a wireless one) on board, and pricing will come down fast.
330 Part V: The Part of Tens




Figure 19-1:
LGE™s
Internet
Refrigerator
is wirelessly
enabled.



And with the developments in radio frequency identification (RFID) and other
technologies, you might indeed get to the point where your kitchen monitors
all of its appliances (and what™s in them ” “We need more milk.”).




Your Musical Instruments
A wireless home backbone will enable fast access to online music scores, like
from www.score-on-line.com. Musical instruments are also growing more
complex and wireless.

With ConcertMaster from Baldwin Piano (www.baldwinpiano.com), your
home wireless LAN can plug into your ConcertMaster-equipped Baldwin,
Chickering, or Wurlitzer piano and play almost any musical piece that you
can imagine. You can plan an entire evening of music, from any combination
of sources, to play in any order ” all via a wireless RF remote control.

The internal ConcertMaster Library comes preloaded with 20 hours of perfor-
mances in five musical categories, or you can create up to 99 custom library
categories to store your music. With up to 99 songs in each category, you can
conceivably have nearly 50,000 songs onboard and ready to play. Use your
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Chapter 19: More Than Ten Devices . . .

wireless access to your home™s Internet connection to download the latest
operating system software from Baldwin™s servers, too. The system can
accept any wireless MIDI interface. Encore!

You can record on this system, too. A one-touch Quick-Record button
lets you instantly save piano performances, such as your child™s piano recital.
You can also use songs that you record and store on floppy disk with your PC
to use within editing, sequencing, and score notation programs.




Your Pets
GPS-based tracking services can be used for pets, too! Just about everyone
can identity with having lost their pet at some point. The GPS device™s form
factor can be collar-based or a subdermal implant. This can serve as your
pet™s electronic ID tag; it also can serve as the basis for real-time feedback to
the pet or its owner, perhaps providing automatic notification if your dog
goes out of the yard, for instance.

Check out www.homeagainid.com to find out about an Applied Digital-driven
service for tracking your pet today. What makes this interesting is making the
wireless connection more active than passive, adding 802.11 and GPS tech-
nologies so that there can be an ever-present signal to track your pet within
the service area. Several companies are testing such capabilities so that
soon, your LAN may indeed be part of a neighborhood wireless network infra-
structure that provides a NAN ” neighborhood area network ” one of whose
benefits is such continual tracking capability.




Your Phones
True, many phones in homes today are wireless. (And, of course, cell phones
are, too.) But remember that your wireless home network uses the same 2.4
GHz and 5.8 GHz wireless frequencies that your cordless phones do. And
when you factor in that your neighbor™s phones and a bunch of other devices
in home are also on these frequencies, the throughput and usability of your
wireless home networking system can get watered down pretty fast.

Enter your whole home 802.11 network. It makes sense to migrate your cord-
less phones, for instance, to your home wireless network so that your wireless
phones won™t compete and interfere with your home wireless network; instead,
you can get 802.11-based phones that ride over the same network in a very
seamless way. (Chapter 2 has all the details about the 802.11 protocol.)
332 Part V: The Part of Tens

To do this, you will need to get an 802.11-enabled phone, which would work
exactly like a cordless phone. In fact, you scarcely could tell the difference
between the two. There are only a few such phones available today, and they
are fairly pricey, but soon, you™ll probably see a lot more home telephone
products that support 802.11. You might also see 802.11 technology bundled
inside your cell phone as well, although the early moves with cellular have
focused on Bluetooth enablement, which we talk about in Chapter 15.

You can find 802.11b-based business phones today from Symbol Technologies
(www.symbol.com) or SpectraLink (www.spectralink.com), but these are
more business class products and require business telephone gear and VoIP
(Voice over IP) gateways to work. We estimate that it will be a few years
before these get to the price points that you™d pick one up at RadioShack or
CompUSA. Expect to see your cell phone sporting an 802.11b/VoIP capability
sometime in the next few years, too.

You can still use your wireless network and broadband connection to make
low-cost phone calls. With a Cisco (www.cisco.com) ATA-186, which is a two-
port analog telephone adapter that turns traditional analog phones into IP
phones, you can place calls to any of a number of VoIP telephone companies
(like www.vonage.com) that will carry your calls to their destination for low
rates (less than the traditional long distance carrier rates for sure). Unlimited
calling services like Vonage (www.vonage.com) take your normal ordinary
phones and connect them to a special device, like the Cisco ATA-186, that
allows you to place phone calls over IP networks, like your home wireless
LAN and the Internet.

Just plug your cordless phone into the Cisco adapter and call away. You can
also make calls over your laptop with software from companies like
Net2Phone (www.net2phone.com); Net2Phone also has a strong line-up of
hardware for VoIP calling.

Although the ATA-186 is not wireless itself yet, we expect it (or a similar model)
to be so shortly. In the meantime, if you need to, you can get your ATA-186 onto
your wireless network with a wireless bridge, such as the D-Link DWL-810+
(www.d-link.com), which we use with gaming devices in Chapter 12.




Your Robots
Current technology dictates that robots are reliant on special algorithms and
hidden technologies to help them navigate. For instance, the $199 Roomba
robotic vacuum cleaner from iRobot (www.irobot.com) relies on internal
programming and virtual walls to contain its coverage area. The $499
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Chapter 19: More Than Ten Devices . . .

Friendly Machines Robomow (www.friendlymachines.com) robotic lawn-
mower relies on hidden wiring under the ground.

As your home becomes more wireless, devices can start to triangulate their
position based on home-based homing beacons, of sorts, that help them
sense their position at any time. The presence of a wireless home network
will drive new innovation into these devices. Most manufacturers are busy
designing 802.11 into the next versions of their products.

The following list highlights some other product ideas that manufacturers are
working on now. We can™t yet offer price points or tell you when these prod-
ucts will hit the market, but expect them to come soon.

Robotic garbage taker-outers: Robotic firms are designing units that
will take the trash out for you, on schedule, no matter what the weather.
Simple as that.
Robotic mail collectors: A robotic mail collector will go get the mail for
you. Neither snow, nor rain, nor gloom of night, nor winds of change, nor
a nation challenged will stay them from the swift completion of their
appointed rounds. New wirelessly outfitted mailboxes will tell you (and
the robots) when the mail has arrived.
Robotic snow blowers: Manufacturers are working to perfect robotic
snow blowers that continually clear your driveway and sidewalks while
snow falls.
Robotic golf ball retrievers: These bots retrieve golf balls. Initially being
designed for driving range use, they are being modified for the home
market.
Robotic guard dogs: Companies such as iRobot (www.irobot.com) sell
CoWorkers, which are robots that can roam areas and send back audio
and video feeds.
Robotic gutter cleaners: A range of spider-like robots are available that
can maneuver on inclines, like a roof, and feature robotic sensors and
arms that can clean areas.
Robotic cooks: Put the ingredients in, select a mode, and wait for your
dinner to be cooked ” better than a TV dinner for sure.
Robotic pooper-scoopers: The units that we™ve discovered roam your
yard in search of something to clean up and then deposit the findings in
a place that you determine.

You™re more likely to see humanoid robots at special events demonstrating
stuff than in your kitchen cooking dinner. Products such as Honda™s ASIMO
(Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility, world.honda.com/ASIMO/) are
remarkable for the basic things they can do, like shake hands and bow, but
the taskmasters that we mention above are really going to help you with day-
to-day chores.
334 Part V: The Part of Tens


Your Wearing Apparel
Wireless is also making its way into your clothing. Researchers are already
experimenting with so-called wearables ” the merging of 802.11 and
Bluetooth directly into clothing so that it can have networking capabilities.
Want to synch your PDA? No problem ” just stick it in your pocket. MIT Labs
has been showing off some clothing that looks more like a Borg from Star
Trek than anything practical, but there are all sorts of companies working on
waterproof and washerproof devices for wirelessly connecting to your home
wireless network.

Wireless technology will also infiltrate your clothing through radio frequency
identification tags, or RFIDs, which are very small, lightweight, electronic
read/write storage devices (microchips) that are half the size of a grain of
sand. They listen for a radio query and when pinged, respond back by trans-
mitting their ID code. Most RFID tags have no batteries because they use the
power from the initial radio signal to transmit their response; thus, they
never wear out. Data is accessible in real time through handheld and/or fixed-
position readers, using RF signals to transfer data to and from tags. RFID
applications are infinite, but when embedded in clothing, RFIDs will offer
applications such as tracking people (like kids at school) or sorting clothing
from the dryer (no more problems matching socks or identifying clothes for
each child™s pile).

A technology of great impact in our lifetime is GPS, which is increasingly
being built into cars, cell phones, devices, and clothing. GPS equipment and
chips are so cheap that you™re going to find them everywhere. They are used
in amusement parks to help keep track of your kids. Some shoe manufactur-
ers are talking about embedding chips in shoes.

Most GPS-driven applications have software that enables you to interpret the
GPS results. So you can grab a Web tablet at home while on your couch, wire-
lessly surf to the tracking Web site, and determine where Fido (or Fred) is
located. Want to see whether your wife™s car is heading home from work yet?
Grab your PDA as you walk down the street, log onto a nearby hot spot, and
check it out. A lot of applications are also being ported to cell phones, so you

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