Smart home control beneath the surface

Courtney Muraczewski
04/11/2019 in Technology
A few years ago during a pool installation, a question came up: How could we control the counter current for the pool when we’re actually in the pool itself (like when you’re in a hot tub)? Even further; how about a switch as part of the smart home system that could be activated with just a single touch? This thought was where the idea for the Touch Surface was born…

A symbolic start to the Touch Surface

One of the founders of Loxone, Thomas, recommended: “Why don’t we integrate controls into the surrounding concrete of the pool? So that with just a simple touch you can switch the counter current on or off.”

“That sounds good, let’s do it, ” answered Martin, the other Loxone founder, “I’ll think of a few creative symbols and mill the stone.”

A prototype project was started, components ordered, wiring in place, and the experiment had begun. The result was a practicable and simple solution. Using a technology that is found in every smartphone today resulted in a “wow” from guests the moment they saw it in action.

Years later: We turned to the kitchen

Having proven itself, Thomas and Martin turned to the pool-side switch (also known as the “Pool Stone”) a few years later when a similar question arose during the planning of the first Loxone Showhome in Austria. 

“Can we somehow integrate something into the kitchen countertop so that we don’t always have to reach for a switch on the wall when our hands are messy from preparing food?” the pair tinkered around with the idea, made a few sketches and turned to the initial planning of the “Pool Stone”.

The concept was there. It only needed to be refined to suit the standards of a Loxone Smart Home. More ideas soon followed: we could integrate LEDs to indicate the status, and some challenges were tackled like we need to find a way to prevent accidental activation, such as when someone puts a pot on it.

TOUCH SURFACE IN FOCUS

> Turn your home surfaces or furniture into a switch


> For simple control of lighting, shading, music…


> 5 touch points (additional activation key)


> Freely assignable status LEDs


> Works on stone, wood, ceramics, glass

Time to create the prototype
Martin phoned a friend at Strasser, specialists in stone kitchen countertops, “Hannes, we have an idea. We need some samples with different mailing designs.”

Right away, stone samples were stacking up with our research and development team. Next step, soldering and experimenting, with the 3D printer turning out the first housing of the components.

“After 14 days, we had the first usable sample in our hands. We were thrilled with how it worked, and were sure that our customers would be too. And, or course, it had to be installed in our own kitchens as soon as possible.”

The Touch Surface project was firmly underway with the code name “Excalibur”; which would see the early version of the Pool Stone being further improved.

 What goes in the kitchen can go everywhere

With the realization of the idea of being able to integrate control directly into a surface, new ideas quickly started to emerge of where else this solution could be used. 

“On the patio table! I inevitable need to control something when we’re sat at the patio table. My children weren’t in favor of the complicated remote control we had up to this point.

“How about at the coffee table? I would then have control of the lighting and volume always at hand.”

When the first prototypes were handed to Loxone employees – also called Loxonauts – for testing, their creativity and imagination were fueled even further. A colleague, who really enjoys listening to music in the morning, decided to install one of these switches behind the tiles in the shower.

“Yes! Finally I can turn the volume up when one of my favorite songs comes on while I’m showering.”

It’s your turn.
What will you transform?

What started years ago as a pool-side project has resulted in an award-winning product available to everyone in the form of the Touch Surface. Today, anyone can turn (almost) any surface into an intuitive point of control for their smart home. Whether you need a wired or wireless version, from a solid kitchen countertop to smaller pieces of furniture or fixtures, let your imagination run wild. Work with your trusted Loxone Partner to realize your creative ideas.

It’s your turn.
What will you transform?

What started years ago as a pool-side project has resulted in an award-winning product available to everyone in the form of the Touch Surface. Today, anyone can turn (almost) any surface into an intuitive point of control for their smart home. Whether you need a wired or wireless version, from a solid kitchen countertop to smaller pieces of furniture or fixtures, let your imagination run wild. Work with your trusted Loxone Partner to realize your creative ideas.

– Special Tip –

Extra smart home ideas


Want to learn about more innovative products and possibilities in a Loxone Real Smart Home? The Welcome Home Magazine has just the inspiration you’re looking for. Browse 70 pages of smart home tips and ideas.

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