Wands revive memories of the smart home dream
By Mary-Ann Russon
Technology of Business reporter
Publishedduration51 minutes agoimage copyrightThe Cauldron Companyimage captionThe Wands & Wizard Exploratorium, in Soho, London
It's not quite Harry Potter, but plenty of magic enthusiasts have fashioned their own wands and used them to control devices around the home.
Look online and you can see hobbyists attempting to turn on the TV, control lights and other devices at home.
This sparked an idea for Matthew Cortland and, during lockdown, he started a business – Wands & Wizard Exploratorium, in Soho, London.
He bet that he could teach people about technology, while having some fun at the same time.
At workshops customers learn how to make wands that can control other products like locked chests and dragon egg lamps.
His wands use the same sensors and circuits that are integral to the internet of things (IoT) – the idea that almost every device you can think of can be connected to the internet and monitored for greater efficiency and convenience.
"[IoT] is very accessible and well-documented. It's a mature form of technology that's been around for years and has never been implemented in quite this way," he tells the BBC.
The IoT was supposed to herald the smart home era, allowing you to control all sorts of devices in your home, wherever you are.
But, according to Paul Miller, principal analyst at research firm Forrester, "the smart home was massively overhyped by vendors, analysts and the media.
"There was this vision that you would walk into your home, speak to your home and all of the devices in your home would be able to speak to each other. That has not happened."