The home automation industry abandoned its original goal of making things simpler loooooong ago. Now, everyone's just racing to design the most ostentatious devices they can—like Savant's Virtual Control, which gives your entire house a per-room touch interface.

The concept of Savant's system is similar to the iffy Domia X10 lighting controller we saw a few years ago: it takes an image of a room, and triggers certain commands when an item, like a light or a TV, is touched onscreen. This difference is, instead of relying on a programmable touch layer placed over a static photograph, Savant's Virtual Control (a temporary name, by the way) actually displays a dynamic digital photo of a room—or really, lots of rooms—which doesn't just control the various parts of your automated home; it reflects their states.

For example, if you switch off a light in your billiards room, (which you have, because you're clearly an extremely rich person), the light pictured on your Virtual Control will go dark too. A simple finger swipe takes you to another room—say, a your private library—so you can spin up your antique gramophone, or whatever.

There's no special tech voodoo here, just a bunch of preloaded image data, which Savant will send a photographer to collect and curate for you. And weirdly, although the system seems to be intended to manage your whole house, its 9-inch base station is tethered to one place by power and ethernet cables. So there's that. [CEPro]