Cleopatra is the brainchild of homeowner Brian Conte, president of Fast Track, a company that produces "greeter" software for the home market.
"I'm into technology, and with three kids, we wanted something easy to use and comfortable," Brian
"In effect, Cleopatra provides a home personality and a friendly interface to the home's automation system," Brian
"Patti's favorite part is when she
wakes up in the morning and the fire is already going downstairs," Brian
"The system knows their preferences," Brian
The kids also have a common play area-with a real tree-and there's a clubhouse on top of their rooms that's accessible through trapdoors.
The entertainment systems throughout the house are fairly low-key, with a slew of in-wall SpeakerCraft speakers and a few hidden video projectors in the office and media room.
"Everything we do is through the computer, even watching the DVDs [in the media room]," says Brian
So switches by the bed that Brian
and Patti flick when they retire for the evening set the house to sleep mode.
"And while we have had some luck with voice recognition software and querying and controlling the house with that, we are still working to improve the recognition rate, especially for the kids," Brian
Unfortunately, there's also a debate about the avatar's good looks.
"Cleopatra reminds me of Angelina Jolie," Patti says.
"I keep telling Brian
that I would much rather have an avatar who brings Brad Pitt to mind.