YouTuber Avboden has a home automation system from 1985, and he recently created this video to show people how it worked. It actually has a pretty great UI, with touchscreen — and it even allows you to give commands from your 1980s ultra-modern, push-button phone.

Watching this actually begs the question of why we haven’t come very far since this era. Sure, our interfaces have more than one color and the graphics are a bit smoother. But in terms of usability? This system actually works a lot better than some current smarthome setups. Look how intuitive it is!

The only thing that’s really changed is that now this kind of system is in reach for anyone who can afford a smartphone and some connected gadgets. Twentieth century systems like this, which were once hardwired into the house at great expense, have been replaced by off-the-shelf consumer electronics items, controlled by free apps for your phone.

But even the phone part hasn’t really changed. Notes Avboden:

Fun fact: if it had the telephone board I could dial into it on any phone and give commands with the keypad. So in 1985, you could literally use your phone to turn on the lights.

[via YouTube]


Contact the author at annalee@gizmodo.com.
Public PGP key
PGP fingerprint: CA58 326B 1ACB 133B 0D15 5BCE 3FC6 9123 B2AA 1E1A