Smart homes

ever thought of living in a house that might be smarter than you are? Well, get ready because soon enough, your room could be giving you a few tips on better living. Aficionados of science fiction will recall how, years ago, authors such as Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury had thought of computer-driven "intelligent' homes that could do everything from reading you your favourite poems to taking care of the regular household chores. Although most of those are still beyond the reach of current technology, science has translated some parts of this science fiction into fact.

If the experts are to be believed, automated living is almost here and even those who do not own new, high-tech homes will be able to enjoy its benefits and the occasional bafflement. And once these smart rooms are commercially available, these can be fit snugly into all houses: of the future and the past alike.

Michael McCarthy, an enterprising Briton who has recently launched a property development company called Mullion, plans to put all these and other high-tech ideas into practice and into our homes. Mullion's first two sites are in old buildings, one in the idyllic Cotswood village of Bibury and the other in a quiet market town of Brackley in Northamptonshire, uk .

This is the first time, says McCarthy, that such technology has been employed in the standard countryside properties. He believes that his smart homes will attract buyers