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Director Smith visits five unusual homes and talks to the people who built or adapted them. His subjects include an alligator wrangler who lives on a houseboat in a Louisiana bayou; an American actress who made her fortune on Japanese TV and then built a treehouse getaway in Hawaii; an inventor who automated his entire home; a family who converted an abandoned missile silo into an underground abode; and a pair of cat-lovers who renovated their house with dozens of feline-friendly features.Written by
To his credit he's built one 280-pound, 6'8" robot named Arok who can vacuum the carpet, mix drinks, dance, take Polaroid photos and talk, plus two smaller (5' tall) robots, one for the Orland Park Police Department another for the police department in Park Ridge. Before the Ferrari there were three other remote controlled automobiles. Skora says he invented a cordless telephone three years before AT&T came up with theirs. He's built a viewer/telephone that actually operates between his home and that of a friend in Mokena.
Skora's home is an electronic fantasy with a 6'-diameter electronic iris door, remote control roll-down shower curtain and a 16'-diameter revolving living room. The house has kitchen cabinets with shelves that go up and down electronically, lights, music and waterfalls that turn on and off by remote control, a wet bar that glides out from a flat wall, electronically-controlled hands that appear out of nowhere to deliver hand soap or swizzle sticks for your drink, a transporter room, Hollywood smoke effects and an easy chair that can be driven --starting, stopping and turning on a dime-- by operating two toggles on the arm rests.
And, as they say, that's not all. There are fascinating things too numerous to chronicle around every corner in Skora's house. Most can be operated by simply dialing numbers on a touch-tone phone. "I can operate everything here even if I'm in Tokyo," Skora boasts, making a sweeping motion with his arm to take in his entire residence. What's even more remarkable, from all accounts he's been able to perform that bit of electronic magic for close to thirty years.
All of Skora's electronic bells and whistles, from the suit of armor that doesn't just talk to the full-sized female mannequin/floor lamp with a panties lampshade to the, well, bells and whistles, are created with one thing in mind - fun. Ben Skora is nothing if not an elfin prankster. Friends say that if Ben thinks about something he'll build it, but if it can get a laugh, he'll build it faster.
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