Apple is working on a modular wall unit system that can automatically configure your smart home | Tech News

Apple is working on a modular wall unit system that can automatically configure your smart home

Apple has recently been granted a patent for a modular wall unit system that can configure a smart home or a building.

By: HT TECH
| Updated on: Aug 21 2022, 15:48 IST
Apple’s foray into the smart home scene has been limited to HomePods and wall-mounted iPads so far, if a device like this one is made, that's going to change the game. 
Apple’s foray into the smart home scene has been limited to HomePods and wall-mounted iPads so far, if a device like this one is made, that's going to change the game.  (Patently Apple)

Apple has added another patent to its very large collection. The US Patent and Trademark Office has granted Apple a patent that relates to a modular wall unit system that can automatically configure a smart home or building, according to Patently Apple.

Configuring smart homes is challenging since it can involve a whole host of brands with a large number of incompatibilities between them - like connections, communication protocols, wiring and connector types, hardware and software configurations etc. And thanks to all of this, setting up a general system that can configure a smart home is daunting for an average individual.

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Even for tech savvy consumers the process can be labour intensive and may involve extensive reconfiguration and replacement of old equipment with new, more compatible ones.

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The modular wall unit system, patented by Apple should be able to fix all of this. The general overview of the device in the patent relates to a modular, configurable system for a building that can be automatically and dynamically configure a smart building system as accessories are added or removed.

One of the core elements in the system is the host unit and a modular accessory. The host unit, as the figure shows, can be embedded within a building structure such as a wall, ceiling, floor etc and integrated with the electrical infrastructure of the building, via electrical power grid, cable, ethernet etc.

The host unit and the accessory. 
The host unit and the accessory.  (Patently Apple )
image caption
The host unit and the accessory.  (Patently Apple )

The modular accessory, which could be the power outlet, light switch, sensor device etc can be configured to be “interchangeably and non-destructively coupled and decoupled with the host unit”.

Once it is coupled, the system can automatically authenticate and configure the accessory. Like Patently Apple explains, it is like coupling the “AC power and/or Ethernet access to the accessory and configuring the setup and operation of the modular accessory in the smart home environment, which can include setting modular accessory control schemes (e.g., functionality and user control hierarchy) and the like”.

A closer look at the host unit. 
A closer look at the host unit.  (Patently Apple )
image caption
A closer look at the host unit.  (Patently Apple )

The main idea seems to be able to control all accessories through the single host unit. A concept like this should give any smart home owner greater control over the smart home devices without having to worry about which company they are from and what connections they might need etc.

Again, since this modular wall unit system is only a patent now, we may or may not see this come to fruition like many other patents Apple has filed. Apple's foray into the smart home scene has been limited to HomePods and wall-mounted iPads so far and does not cover too many other non-Apple devices. If this modular wall unit is made, it's going to change the game for Apple.

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First Published Date: 16 Mar, 19:37 IST
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