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After years of predictions that practical home automation is just around the corner, many builders prefer to avoid smart-home devices. But even techno-skeptics may want to take a second look at one type of home automation technology. A communications protocol called X10 can be used to control lights or appliances with low-voltage signals sent over regular 120-volt household electrical wiring. Although X10 components can be configured into complex whole-house automation systems, individual components are simple to install, cheap, and widely available. A remodeler might consider using X10 modules for such simple applications as a wall switch that controls a distant light. X10 technology was developed in Scotland in 1978. The original patents have expired, and the protocol is now shared by several