The home of the future, similar to the office of the future, is a concept that has been popular to explore since the early 20th century, or perhaps earlier. There have been many exhibits, such as at World's Fairs and theme parks, purporting to show how future homes will look and work, as well as standalone model "homes of the future" sponsored by builders, developers or technology companies. After a few years, each successive version of such an exhibit will start to look dated and old-fashioned, with some of its "futuristic" things becoming commonplace and others never catching on at all.
The film Design for Dreaming (1956) shows a Frigidaire "Kitchen of the Future"—part of the 1956 General MotorsMotorama—which features centralized controls and a "computer screen" showing a completed recipe. General Motors also presented A Touch of Magic (1961), which also showed a Frigidaire kitchen of the future.
In the 1960s and 1970s, such exhibits usually included videophones. While such technology has actually existed since the 1960s and has been developed and improved since, many new mobile phones can now make video calls and use of a home web camera on an instant messaging client and sending of pictures via cell-phone cameras has become prevalent. Other common features of "home of the future" exhibits include centralized and automated control of all appliances, and the use of voice commands to operate devices. Since the 1980s, computer technology has figured heavily in the design of these homes.
The Monsanto House of the Future, a house made entirely of plastics in Disneyland from 1957 to 1967, was a famous example in this genre.
Notes and references
My home is not very smart. It does not know when to start my coffee or how to clean the floor. It has difficulty distinguishing between a roaring grease fire and a steamy shower, which makes it a good thing it can't remember the number to call in an emergency. The only interaction I have with the house is when I must dance the Macarena with the motion detector to get my outside lights to come on.
What Makes a Smart Home? What will be in the smart home of the future?
Here are some smart home products available now, in development, or in concept. Click on any image to view futuristic product videos.
Engineering the Smart Home
In creating the home of the future, engineers seek to understand what technologies are best suited for the home and how much technology its residents can tolerate.
Research is mainly being done in these areas:
Health - Monitoring your health, with emphasis on assisting the elderly.
Networking - Connecting occupants and everything else in the house together
Interfacing - You and technology living with each other in harmony.
Pervasive Computing - Tiny processing devices everywhere.
Environment - Reducing environmental impact.
Energy - Every home produces its own energy.
Robotics - Robot assisted living. Cleaners, caregivers and companions.
One way researchers test futuristic home ideas is to build a smart home, then invite people to live in it. Technologies for the smart home are being tested in living laboratories like these:
The Drexel Smart House
CASAS Smart Home