Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's personal project for 2016 has been to build an artificially intelligent, voice-controlled assistant for his home.
Now that he's finished the first version of his own "Iron Man"-inspired Jarvis, he's considering giving away the code he created.
In a lengthy Facebook post on Monday, Zuckerberg described how he went about creating his digital butler for his home in San Francisco. He spent a total of 100 hours building the assistant, which can control his lights and music and even make toast with a retrofitted toaster from the 1950s.
"In some ways, this challenge was easier than I expected," Zuckerberg wrote. "In fact, my running challenge (I also set out to run 365 miles in 2016) took more total time. But one aspect that was much more complicated than I expected was simply connecting and communicating with all of the different systems in my home."
Here are the main things Zuckerberg's personal assistant can do:
Control his main appliances, including his lights and toaster
"It's possible to control some of these using internet-connected power switches that let you turn the power on and off remotely," he wrote. "But often that isn't enough. For example, one thing I learned is it's hard to find a toaster that will let you push the bread down while it's powered off so you can automatically start toasting when the power goes on. I ended up finding an old toaster from the 1950s and rigging it up with a connected switch. "
Play music based on his or his wife's preferences, depending on who asks
Since Zuckerberg trained his assistant to recognize both his voice and the voice of Priscilla Chan, his wife, it will play different music tailored to whoever asks. If the mood is off, they can say general statements like "That's not light — play something light," and the assistant will correct itself.
"In general, I've found we use these more open-ended requests more frequently than more specific asks," Zuckerberg wrote. "No commercial products I know of do this today, and this seems like a big opportunity."
Scan the faces of his visitors and let them in through the front door
Zuckerberg used Facebook's facial-recognition technology to scan the faces of his visitors from cameras positioned at his front door.
"I built a simple server that continuously watches the cameras and runs a two-step process," he wrote. "First, it runs face detection to see if any person has come into view, and second, if it finds a face, then it runs face recognition to identify who the person is. Once it identifies the person, it checks a list to confirm I'm expecting that person, and if I am then it will let them in and tell me they're here."
See the rest of the story at Business Insider