According to the Triangle Business Journal, Home Depot will chip in $2 million to cover construction of a "smarthome" that will serve as a test bed for new technologies for the home. Launched in 2003, the residence hall/lab is the brainchild of former Duke University electrical engineering student Mark Younger, who upon graduation was hired as the project director. Since, upwards of 225 Duke students have joined the effort.

"Our objectives are threefold: to create a home environment that incorporates innovative solutions that simplify life, to better understand the technology behind these solutions and ultimately to bring this technology to the consumer market," says Craig Menear, senior vice president of merchandising at Home Depot.        EC