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If you want to be able to control your lights and thermostat while you’re away, look for a plan and technology with home automation capabilities. If you’re ready to purchase or upgrade your system, read more about top home security providers to find the best match for your lifestyle. Hiring a house sitter and setting up a security system are two very complementary steps you can take to keeping your home safe when you’re away. Your home automated system can make up for the human errors of which your house sitter may be guilty. Your house sitter is an intimidating presence to burglars and intruders who prey on empty houses. But you have to remember that you’re very familiar with your home, and all of its quirks—your house sitter is not. Don’t assume that she’ll know all the tricks and protocol you do. Here are instructions to give your house sitter so she can keep your home safe. Mention finicky locks Are there any finicky locks in your home?Maybe the deadbolt on the back door only shuts if you pull the door tight and flush with the frame. Maybe a simple knob lock can unlock if not turned entirely vertically. These finicky locks can leave your home vulnerable if your house sitter doesn’t know how to manipulate them.

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An engineering professor and five students at Central Michigan Universityhave created a ''Smart Cane'' to read electronic navigational tagsinstalledbetween buildings to aid the blind in reaching their destinations moreeasily. ''This project started as a way for me to teach students to see andunderstand the ways that engineering can be used for the greater good,''said Kumar Yelamarthi, the professor and project leader. ''We wanted to dosomething that would help people and make our campus more accessible. '' During the spring term, Yelamarthi and five senior engineering studentstested the cane, which is equipped with Radio Frequency Identificationtechnology, similar to what retailers put on products to keep them frombeing stolen. The Smart Cane contains an ultrasonic sensor that is paired with aminiaturenavigational system inside a messenger style bag worn across the shoulder. For the test, the students installed identification tags between twobuildings on the campus in Mount Pleasant, Mich. A speaker located on thebag strap gave audio alerts when the system detected an obstacle and toldthe user which direction to move. Students wearing glasses that simulate visual impairment tested the cane. The students also created a vibrating glove to assist those who are bothvisually and hearing impaired. Yelamarthi said it's one of the first outdoor applications of RFID and saidhe plans for students in upcoming classes to further refine the systemwhilehe seeks grants to speed the research. The next step probably involves using the system in a wider area.