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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Students Design Futuristic 'Smart House'

USC architecture and engineering students have been constructing the home for the past two years in preparation for The Solar Decathlon.

Remember the Disney Channel original film, Smart House -- the made-for-TV movie about a computerized home manned by an electronic maid named PAT?

The concept of a high-tech home may have seemed a bit far-fetched when the movie premiered in 1999, but today --  more than a decade later --  "smart houses" are becoming a reality.

For the past two years USC students from a variety of majors have been working to build an innovative, 1,000-square-foot solar-powered house controlled by a single iPad as part of the biennial Solar Decathlon competition.

A group of students involved in the project unveiled their work today at USC's Watt Hall where they gave tours and showcased their futuristic creation before heading out to Irvine for the official competition.

The competition, which will take place between October 3 and October 13, consists of 10 categories: architecture, market appeal, engineering, appliances, affordability, comfort zones, hot water usage, communication, home entertainment and energy balance.

USC is one of 20 schools from around the globe participating in the competition in Orange County Great Park in Irvine, Calif.

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