The Reality Editor is a new smart-home controls platform and companion app developed by researchers at The MIT Media Lab.
MIT Media Lab The Reality Editor is a new smart-home controls platform and companion app developed by researchers at The MIT Media Lab.

The market is rife with Web-enabled consumer products, and while those goods can talk to consumers, few are capable of interacting with each other. That could soon change thanks to the announcement last month by the MIT Media Lab’s Fluid Interfaces Group of a remote controller–like app lets users (quite literally) connect the dots between smart devices. Using a mobile phone's or tablet’s camera, the Reality Editor creates an augmented reality version of a scene, such as a kitchen counter, that houses smart products. Images of the products are rendered on the device's screen, and users can map features onto the product images and then draw lines with a finger or stylus from one device to another, triggering the intended smart connection. As an example, Core77 explains, the integrated timer on a toaster could time the operation of another kitchen appliance, such as a food processor, that lacks an internal timing device. The team's goal is to shift from a stratified "Internet of Things" to a more unified world of connected devices. While no consumer products—yet—are designed to support this platform, its open-source code and iOS controller app are available to product developers looking to adapt existing smart products, such as thermostats or lighting systems, to implement this new level of connection. [The Verge + Fast Company’s Co.Design + Core77 + MIT]

ICYMI: Should firms incorporate augmented and virtual reality tools into the design and construction process? [ARCHITECT]

Back to Cambridge, Mass. MIT researchers are teaching drones how to drive using algorithms that direct the small unmanned aerial vehicles into obstacle-free air spaces while in flight to minimize the risk of a collision. Though their use on the jobsite may be minimal as of yet, long-term integration depends on the device’s agility in flight—and that’s still a work in progress. [MIT]

From 3D-printed maps to ultrasound guides, four cities share how they’re helping individuals with visual impairments navigate public spaces. [CityScope]

Washington D.C.’s Metro transit system needs to get back on its riders’ good sides. One way to do that: Implementing wireless Internet access for the significant portion of the system that is underground. [CityLab]

These product designers took a road-trip across Russia to source Soviet-era industrial-style light fixtures to refurbish and sell in the U.S. [Curbed]

This week, the state of New York announced plans to invest $5 billion in clean energy initiatives over a decade, focusing on solar and wind power and grid modernization. [Bloomberg]

Watch: Stealing antiquities—and getting them back—is an age-old cycle. News of the Islamic State's theft or destruction of cultural heritage landmarks and other artifacts in Syria has brought the practice back into the spotlight. This Homeland Security agent explains how he spends his days tracking down stolen artifacts. [FiveThirtyEight and ESPN Films]