Chip Solar House is powered by the sun and controlled through Xbox Kinect


There is a lot that goes into making a house green, and we don’t mean just slapping a coat of paint on it. Building an energy efficient home is hard enough, let alone maintaining a home that doesn’t harm the environment by wasting resources and over consuming energy. Little things like switching off the lights and adjusting the thermostat go a long way in conserving energy, but it isn’t always easy, and it can be difficult fiddling with all of that on a day to day basis. Enter the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arch) and California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and their easy-to-use CHIP Solar House, a cutting-edge solar home you control with a wave of your hands and the help of Xbox Kinect.

CHIP, which stands for Compact, Hyper-Insulated Prototype Solar House utilizes an Xbox Kinect as its means of control. Tasks like turning off the lights or turning down the thermostat can now be accessed through gesture controls. Wave your arm or flick your wrist, it doesn’t matter. CHIP was designed to make maintaining an energy neutral home as streamlined as possible. The house even features a 3-D camera that can go a step further by tracking your movements and auto-switching off a light when you leave a room. Who said being green wasn’t easy?

Of course besides being unique on the inside, the CHIP Solar House also carries with it a distinct look with its insulation stretched around the exterior of the house (resembling the material found on the inside of a padded cell). The house measures 750-square feet and took over two years, more than 100 students, and $1 million to build–however according to SCI-Arch and Caltech, the house could be replicated for as little as $300,000. So while being green might be easy, it isn’t exactly cheap.