The Smart Home Fellows Program provides an opportunity for engineering students to do project-based design research in their engineering major and receive independent study course credit. Project ideas can come from students or faculty, and should address the very broad goals of the Duke Smart Home Program to explore smart technology and ideas that enable sustainable living. The Home Depot Smart Home on Duke’s central campus is available as a test bed laboratory for student projects, but it is NOT REQUIRED to be a focus of Fellows projects.
Benefits of being a Smart Home Fellow:
- Independent study credit or free elective credit
- Flexible length of study
- Project based and design focused
- No limits on project topic
- Opportunity to install your tech in dorm
- Project report
- Technology prototype
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can my technology go into The Home Depot Smart Home dorm on Central Campus?
Yes—once it passes a rigorous safety and durability review. Our goal is to continually modify and upgrade the dorm with new technology, and particularly with student-derived tech. Projects that result in install-ready technology will typically be two to three semester projects.
Who is eligible?
All Duke engineering undergraduate students are eligible for the program. You do not have to be a resident of the smart home dorm to be eligible.
Note: Non-credit, smart technology project experiences are possible for any Duke student—from any major—through the Smart Home Club student organization.
How does the Smart Home Fellows differ from the Pratt Undergraduate Research Fellows?
The Smart Home Fellows program is design and project based—students engage in hands-on design, prototype building and testing. Student projects may entail reverse engineering, technology integration or building completely new technology. The length of the independent study can be one or more semesters, and can also be structured to include summer work at The Home Depot Smart Home.
Pratt Fellows projects are also hands-on, but are research-oriented. Students work on faculty research projects in the context of that faculty member’s laboratory group. Depending on the research questions being explored, students may or may not take part in physical design and build work. In addition, the Pratt Fellows program encompasses three semesters AND a summer work experience. In some cases, a Smart Home Fellows Project can lead into a Pratt Fellows Project, for those students interested in exploring a project in depth and participating in both programs.
How do I apply to be a Smart Home Fellow?
There are two ways to apply to the program. Answer the Call for Smart Home Fellows, sent out to all undergraduate engineering students in the spring OR contact Smart Home Program Director Jim Gaston with your idea and they will help you get started and answer your questions.
The Smart Home Fellows program is run under the direction of Jim Gaston, Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Research.