Interactive apartment block prototype is a voyeuristic Arduino-powered experience

If you crossed Alfred Hitchcock’s classic voyeuristic thriller Rear Window with an Arduino users’ club, what would you get?

Probably something close to “Caretaker,” a conceptual art project created by Máté Varga, a student at Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest, Hungary

“The concept comes from a personal experience of moving into the flat where I’m living now for my studies,” Varga told Digital Trends. “I felt like I was being observed by other people living in the opposite building. This happened at night, when I was turning on the lights in my room, and felt like I was attracting the eyes of other people who could watch me. I’ve been living here for two years now, so I’m used to it, but I wanted to represent that initial feeling.”

“Caretaker” is a scale model of the building in question, with each “room” separated off and capable of lighting up individually, thanks to a line of RGB LEDs. It is, in essence, the perfect interactive night light for the urban paranoia age. “The work is about controlling, being controlled, and endless curiosity,” Varga said.

The battery-powered prototype was built using an Arduino Nano board, and can be easily moved around. “The model is made of wood, cut by laser,” Varga said. “Every window represents an individual room with its own stories. These stories are left to the viewer’s imagination.”

Part of the “art project” nature of “Caretaker” is the assumption that this is going to be a mass-produced product sometime soon. Much to Digital Trends’ disappointment, Varga won’t, in fact, accept pictures of real buildings and design a special laser-cut scale model of any building fans want.

“This is just conceptual,” he said. “The short film is a deep part of the work. I wanted to present it as a real project, to let people imagine what this thing could be, how it could be part of a housing community.”

Still, with his example laid out, it shouldn’t be too difficult for us to create our own versions of “Caretaker.”

Provided we can get photos of our neighbors’ homes without getting arrested in the process, that is!

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in December, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to endangered cats

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Digital Trends Live

HouseSpecial animation team brings DT’s Holiday Gift Guide to life with miniatures

Digital Trends partnered with animation company HouseSpecial to create this year's Holiday Gift Guide. We sat down with art director Gee Staughton to discuss how HouseSpecial brought life to the project.
Product Review

The competition was fierce, and this is the best TV of 2018

With stellar picture quality, excellent ease of use, and rich features, the LG C8 OLED is the best TV you can buy in 2018, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is right for you. Check out our review to learn more.
Emerging Tech

New experiment casts doubt on claims to have identified dark matter

A South Korean experiment called COSINE-100 has attempted to replicate the claims of dark matter observed by the Italian DAMA/LIBRA experiment, but has failed to replicate the observations.
Emerging Tech

White dwarf star unexpectedly emitting bright ‘supersoft’ X-rays

NASA's Chandra Observatory has discovered a white dwarf star which is emitting supersoft X-rays, calling into question the conventional wisdom about how X-rays are produced by dying stars.
Emerging Tech

It’s no flying car, but the e-scooter had a huge impact on city streets in 2018

Within just a year, electric scooters have fundamentally changed how we navigate cities. From San Francisco to Paris, commuters have a new option that’s more fun than mass transit, easier than a bike, and definitely not a car.

Amazon scouted airport locations for its cashier-free Amazon Go stores

Representatives of Amazon Go checkout-free retail stores connected with officials at Los Angeles and San Jose airports in June to discuss the possibility of cashier-free grab-and-go locations in busy terminals.
Emerging Tech

Full-fledged drone delivery service set to land in remote Canadian community

Some drone delivery operations seem rather crude in their execution, but Drone Delivery Canada is building a comprehensive platform that's aiming to take drone delivery to the next level.
Emerging Tech

Intel wants its fleet of drones to monitor America’s aging, unsafe bridges

Intel has signed a deal to use its Falcon 8+ drones to carry out bridge inspections. The hope is that these drones will be useful in spotting potential problems before they become serious.
Emerging Tech

Transplanted pig hearts show promise in baboon trials. Are humans next?

Researchers in Germany have successfully transplanted modified pig hearts into baboons. The results take us one step closer to ending organ transplant waiting lists for good. Here's why.
Emerging Tech

An A.I. cracks the internet’s squiggly letter bot test in 0.5 seconds

How do you prove that you’re a human when communicating on the internet? The answer used to be by solving a CAPTCHA puzzle. But maybe not for too much longer. Here is the reason why.
Emerging Tech

Makerbot is back with a new 3D printer that’s faster and more precise than ever

MakerBot's new Method 3D printer aims to bridge the gap between home 3D printers and more industrial 3D printing tech. Here are a few of the tantalizing things you can expect from it.

Print your heart’s desire: Enter our giveaway to win a free Monoprice 3D printer

We’re giving away a $400 Monoprice MP Voxel 3D Printer. It's easy to use, especially for beginners, with its simple menu system and touchscreen display. It comes fully assembled so you can spend more time printing instead of setting up.