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Automated container home on a budget obeys voice commands

As co-founder of Oakland’s shipping container live/work commune, which we dubbed “Containertopia” in 2014, Luke Iseman has been pushing the limits of container living for years.

For his most recent experiment, he attached an Raspberry Pi and a relay board to his ever-evolving “Boxouse” and with voice automation (specifically Amazon Alexa), he created a very affordable “smart home”. By investing in a window coating, he can even “tell” the windows to go opaque or translucent.

He admits that these hacks aren’t life-changing, but they hint at a future where windows could incrementally adjust to a changing day, lights could track our motion through a space or heating could shift with our location.

“These are things that you can buy individual devices to do,” explains Iseman.

“What’s cool for me is it’s, especially with a tiny house, when you stop worrying about the cost per square foot, when you think about it as, ‘oh, this isn’t that big of a house, if I want 3 or 4 smart systems I might as well just spend the 20-40 hours to learn how to glue these together with open sourced things’. I mean, it’s basically a container-based smart cabin.”