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For centuries, humans have looked towards the mysterious future and wondered, “What is my kitchen going to look like in 10 years?” Obviously, there have been other more important questions asked about things yet to come, but wondering about how we’ll all be living in the future has always sparked curiosity. Also, it’s more fun to think about than economic or environmental problems we may someday face (think more along the lines of The Jetsons and less Blade Runner).
So, here’s a look at what new technologies may soon become standard in our homes.
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The Internet Of Things & Smart Appliances
In 1999, we were introduced to the concept of The Internet of Things (IoT). While this sounds like the name of a terrible indie rock album, The Internet of Things applies to how devices, vehicles, or any other sort of “smart” objects can collect and share data with each other. Basically, we hooked up the Internet to a lot of technology that didn’t have it before and gave it a mobile app. Home tech already allows you the possibility to monitor and control some aspects of your home remotely such as your thermostat, lighting and kitchen appliances. Smart refrigerators can show you via camera if you need to pick up more milk. Smart thermostats, like Nest, are able to learn when people are home or away and adjust heating or cooling to be more efficient and cost effective. Smart washing machines can even learn the most cost effective time of day to do a load of laundry.
A few years from now, your refrigerator may be able to tell you when certain food items are about to spoil. A fully integrated IoT kitchen could one day help prepare and cook meals from the ingredients in your fridge all controlled remotely via mobile device or tablet! You will also be able to “chat” with your appliances to get more information from them or send instructions like telling your coffee maker to start brewing on your way home from work. No word yet if your kegerator will text “I miss you” at 2:00 in the morning though.
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Green technology has definitely become mainstream over the last few years since people are becoming more conscious of their impact on the environment. Not only that, but people are finding new ways of saving money on energy bills by going “off the grid.”
Enter home battery systems. Currently these giant batteries are used as a backup power source for your home, but manufacturers like Tesla are working on batteries that hold more power and can last longer. Coupled with solar panels, home batteries will be able to power your home during the evening and recharge during the day saving power plant-generated energy and money.
It’s something you use every day, but probably don’t think about very often: your toilet. Presently, the United States is way behind in toilet tech. Japan takes the John seriously, however. Commode maker TOTO is currently developing a smart toilet that, using lab-on-a-chip technology, can analyze what you flush and report on your vital signs like blood sugar, blood pressure, BMI and your gut probiotics. These smart toilets could also revolutionize health care and epidemiology by quickly sending information to your doctor or tracking bacteria or viral outbreaks.
Even if you’re not interested in the potential health benefits, these future toilets will have heated seats and can clean themselves.
Toilets that clean themselves. What a time to be alive.
Who doesn’t want a robot to do their chores for them? Humans have gone to great lengths to find a way out of doing the simplest tasks and robotic technology is no exception. Currently, there are several home cleaning robots on the market but these mainly just clean your floors and give rides to your lazy cats.
Those robots are all well and fine but let’s talk about some future domestic robots that are much cooler.
German engineers built a robot named Carl a few years ago. What’s Carl’s primary function? Serving drinks. While it’s very impressive that a machine can learn to pour, measure, mix and serve drinks to people it’s even more amazing that German scientists made a robot that doesn’t look like it would give someone nightmares.
Next year we may even see the first robo-chef hit the market. The Moley robotic kitchen is a pair of mechanical arms that will prepare your meals for you. The robot “learns” how to cook by video recording someone making a meal and then saves that meal to a digital cookbook. If you hate cooking but trust a robot with a meat cleaver, the robotic chef may be for you! Don't worry too much though, this robot can only mimic human actions for meal preparation and there are multiple safety features. Let's hope one of those safety features is a fourth law of robotics preventing them from ever making Skyline Chili.
So that’s a quick look at the home of the future. While they may not have food replicators or a series of pneumatic tubes to travel around in, tomorrow’s dwellings will be more efficient, smarter and more convenient. Just think; one day you’ll be sitting with your family around the hovertable enjoying a delicious robot-prepared meal of Soylent Green. In order to reach such a futuristic household Utopia, we must always move forward, not backwards, upwards and always twirling towards freedom!
Let us know what household technology you hope to see in the future in the comments.