How Do You Make Your Home “Smarter”?

How smart is your home? Well, according to a recent story by the Chicago Tribune, there are plenty of ways that you can make it even smarter than it already is.

The Tribune story, written by veteran Chicago real estate writer Mary Umberger, highlights Sesame, which is an ingenious idea: This device will attach to your home’s front door. When you want to enter, you just need to use a secret knock that you set up beforehand. Sesame will recognize the knock and open your door.

It’s a solution for those of us who are always fumbling for our keys when trying to unlock our front doors. The device isn’t available yet, but the company behind it, Candy House, is raising money on Kickstarter, and hopes to one day sell the product for $99 a pop.

Trulia is adding some new tech, too, in the form of a feature it calls Boards. Umberger writes that Boards are a bit like Pinterest for real estate. If you see a home listing that you like, you can tap on its heart icon to store the listing on your own Board. This will also notify people that you’ve earlier selected — say, your REALTOR® or spouse — that you’ve boarded a listing. It’s a good tool to alert your REALTOR® to the kind of homes that you like and the features that inspire you.

Maybe you consider a smart home to be a quiet one. Umberger writes about researchers in Spain who have managed to turn waste material from orange trees into acoustic insulation that is supposed to be far more effective at reducing noise than are the standard gypsum boards that builders use now to make walls and ceilings more soundproof.

This product is not yet commercially available, but citrus trees might one day make your home a quieter place.