Soviet "smart home"

• Soviet "smart home"

In the 1980s in the Soviet Union, not only built "Buran" and played in restructuring, but also tried to anticipate future consumer paradise, which was especially incredible in deficit.


It is hard to believe, but at the time, Soviet scientists were able to predict the appearance and wearable, and smartphones, and laptops, and wireless home electronics !!!

Moreover, all this is supposed to tie into a single system, organized sort of a smart home.

The Union has already started to crumble, however, numerous institutes, offices and other agencies with a marvelous abbreviations still working, sometimes giving to the surface fresh ideas ahead of time for a few decades.

The Soviet journal "Industrial art" 1987/09 was published an article about the radio system SPHINX, still amazes with its design and ideas. Concept, anticipating the modern idea of ​​a smart home, was designed by the All-Union Scientific Research Institute of Technical Aesthetics (VNIITE).


The Institute has identified the main flaw existed at the time of the system of home appliances such as a TV, tape recorder, VCR, computer, printer and speakers. Actually, no system was not, which is the main drawback. In fact, many Soup repeatedly duplicate the functionality of each other, thus practically does not interact, and not being combined.

The idea VNIITE employees was: abandon televisions, tape recorders, computers and other devices both on the self-contained devices, replacing them with functional units that are combined into a system.

This is how the scientists themselves say: "The central processing unit receives information from the outside (over the air, cable networks, optical fibers, telephone networks, etc...) Or from its own memory. The equipment of the near future will keep for some time a different combination of existing media from LPs to slide. In the next step to make the transition to an increasingly universal medium on which a digital form will be stored very different information - music, videos, slides, educational and game programs, texts ... The transition to universal media increasingly small size lead to a genuine revolution in design consumer electronics. "


As planned by the scientists obtained the information processor can be distributed through the screens, speakers, and other units. To arrange these blocks around the home (eg, in one room the processor supplies the movie screen with an audio track, the other - a video game in his office to start the computer with work tasks, and in the kitchen - audiobook), proposed to build on a square meter of Soviet citizens of the so-called "busways". In fact, it was a question embedded in the walls of certain universal cables that might, at first, to feed the electronics, and secondly, to manage it through the processor.

It's funny that even then, 30 years ago, were well thought out elements of wearable electronics, "There may be the most unexpected solutions: for example, sunglasses, at the user's turning into a display showing the time and other relevant information (heart rate, body temperature or ambient air). "


In accordance with VNIITE concept was developed equipment housing project near future - SPHINX (SuperFunktsionalnaya integrate communicative system). In the fantasies of researchers it looked like this. SPHINX prototype made of plastic and foam board was given to ergonomics assessment and to provide evidence of:


Almost all devices perfectly recognizable, right? Is that like a fantastic space ship thing in the lower right corner of embarrassing. In fact, this is the main element of the SPHINX System - a device that its inventors persistently called "the CPU". It was he who had taken command, process them and distribute tasks among functional blocks.

These strange petals in the tail - media, analogues of modern SSD, HDD, flash drives, or, in extreme cases CD. In the USSR, we were convinced that the first universal storage medium is a disk, and then - crystalline, with no moving mechanisms in the reader. A central processing unit SPHINX:


provides both wired and wireless devices remaining. Developers are confident that the processor will be able to receive information and relay it to other appliances via radio. Furthermore, the CPU had to contain a unit that carries different types of signals in digital form.

The processor itself appeared only as a means to distribute tasks other devices. Therefore, keep it in a prominent place not necessarily, at least in the sofa hide. However, then it will be difficult to insert the very petals - information custodians (let's call them drives). It was assumed that each such disk will provide recreation or workload for one family member. That is, for example, on one lobe of recorded movies and games, on the other - music and educational programs, the third - the business and creative applications, and so on..

Required content CPU was broadcast on the display. Flats can be equipped with any number of screens of different columns and diagonals of different shapes. As an example, in the living room were asked to put the screen diagonal of about one meter (about 40 inches) and two powerful speakers in the form of spheres.


"Here comes inhouse movies, videos, TV shows, works of art and other images and sound, collective computer games, here it can be displayed fragments of family album. The family can arrange a friendly teleconference or business meetings. Additional information (time, weather, information, and other channels, etc...) Can be presented in hazardous frame "- dreamed of dying in the Soviet Union. In this description, taken from the magazine "Industrial art" for 1987, today easily recognizable online games, instant messengers and a Skype-la, smart TVs, and even electronic photo frame. The authors of the Sphinx then there really believed in it, or just dream about, but pointed out that the Soviet Union will launch mass production of large flat-panel LCD and plasma TVs before the end of the 1980s. But on the production of small colored small screen, which is also planned to use as part of the Sphinx out of the question. A kind of tablet is actually duplicated a large main display, but offers greater mobility.

A central processing unit SPHINX:


The most miniature screen have been integrated into the remote control. "This will allow using interactive communication system with a computer file any team complex", - stated in the description of the device. In addition, such control could perform the function calculator, clock, timer, and a tiny TV. A built-in microphone to provide voice control system!

The diagonal arrangement of buttons, as it was considered, extremely convenient to work with the remote control. Each key has been highlighted, you can activate the audio response to pressing if necessary.

These are two more options control panel. Blue - touch, in a recess is an additional small hand-held transmitter. White - feather-in recess - the handset. Right of the keyboard - the keys a couple of "more - less" to adjust any parameters


In addition to the creation of a full-length miniature remote control, is more similar to a computer keyboard was provided. The first embodiment has been completely touch, the second - with hardware keys and a wireless telephone in a separate tube. The last one could be connected to a screen in the form of a tablet and get something resembling a modern laptop. Throw in wireless headphones, small speakers, adjustable when installed on the angle - and get the first project in the smart home of the USSR.


Authors Sphinx is almost never seen limit the functionality of their offspring. First entertainment and work, then - a much more serious problem. The system, for example, was supposed to monitor the condition of the house in the absence of the owners, to give background information on any issues and even help with a medical diagnosis!


However, while all the features of the Sphinx, as well as the system itself looked good only on the pages of youth magazines. On the establishment of workable models, not to mention the incarnation of all that, in reality, there could be no talk. The Soviet Union is rapidly approaching the final stage of the collapse, with the distribution of rationed goods, the total deficit, aggravated inter-ethnic conflicts and "parade of sovereignties". Who cares if it was up to fantasies of some designers and engineers ...