Almost like a machine within other machines, an actuator is a simple mechanism that moves things: switching something on or off; moving it up and down; pushing and pulling it into a certain place or position. As the name implies, the motion created is typically in a straight line. Whether you're just curious about where you would find them or you have a certain project in mind, they can be used for a wide range of automation applications in the home.

Actuators improve the quality of your life in a number of small ways that you might not be aware of. Too much light streaming through the kitchen window at two o'clock in the afternoon? Many types of window treatments including a blind, shutters or an awning incorporate home automation to allow windows to adjust their position or to open and close it. Does it feel a little stuffy? When you adjust the ventilation ducts, these devices at work. Don't want the TV in the bedroom but your partner does? A cabinet or console that is designed to hide or reveal a flat screen television might be the perfect solution.

Found not only in TV consoles, actuators are also present in other furniture pieces commonly found in a home. The recliner parked in front of the TV probably includes them to operate the headrest and footrest. If you have an adjustable bed, they allow you to change position to a more comfortable one. Should it be a project that appeals to you, one can be used to transform a slatted or box spring bed into an adjustable one or make it possible for a foot board to house a flat screen.

Actuators rule the kitchen, finding use in a variety of places. Spice racks, knife blocks, and glassware racks can all be automated to appear and disappear at the push of a button. Pantry doors can be opened or closed, especially useful for those with limited mobility or strength.

Since they are so adaptable, linear motors can be used for a variety of applications. Whether it's making a bed more comfortable, adjusting how much light enters a room or hiding a television from sight, they can increase your comfort level in the home.

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