Photos: Live large in this smart home
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From the outside, the Popular Science/Sunset Magazine House of Innovation–on show in Alamo, Calif., until November–looks like a typical suburban home. But step inside and get a glimpse of the home of the future. It’s just one flying car and a robotic housekeeper away from a set-up the Jetsons would call home.
The Pro Home Systems Programmed Crestron Control System integrates media into the home. With one touch, users can activate music or video to be played throughout the home or in a specific room. Speakers and displays in the house are networked, so media files on the hard drive of the home’s main computer can be played virtually anywhere. The control system also has an AM/FM radio, XM satellite radio and a CD player.
Curtains are so 2005. With Liquid Crystal Glass window technology, future home residents can ensure instant privacy with the touch of a button. When this window’s control is in the “on” position, particles in the window become active, allowing light to pass through the glass, thus creating a clear view to the outside. In the “off” position, the glass becomes opaque, blocking visual access from either side of the glass.
Many cars today have the ability to “remember” seat preferences for multiple drivers. Now that same kind of customization can be used to avoid playing the guessing game with your shower’s temperature controls.rnrn
This shower and control panel from Kohler lets users develop their own shower preferences and save custom profiles. With a panel outside the shower, one can control the temperature and which of the system’s five showerheads (one overhead, one free-moving handheld and three lateral, wall-mounted) are used. A second panel is located on the inside of the shower for instant customization. Want one? Count on paying over $500 for one of these hot gizmos.
The shower is enclosed with streak-resistant, phase-change glass for instant privacy and less scrubbing.
Just outside the shower, a heated glass and metal rack using EGP Thermique HOT Glass keeps towels warm.
And we thought bidets were only used in Europe. This bidet seat by Kohler not only expels temperature-controlled water, but also warms up the seat. Users can also control the nozzle and water stream.
This baby seat will spend more time in the car of the future than the home. Instead of being stationary like today’s baby seats, the inner pod oscillates with the movement of the car, keeping Baby from being jostled about on bumpy roads. In case of a sudden jerk or halt, the car seat moves accordingly to shield the child from potential impact and hopefully preventing more injuries.
Basic requirements for a desirable wine cellar have always been the following: First, a dark room; second, cool temperatures; and third, bottle shelves made of wood. Those rules get an upgrade in the home of the future.rnrn
This walk-in wine vault by General Electric uses an electronic inventory-management system, based on printable bar codes, that will help wine connoisseurs keep tabs on their collections–and even sends alerts when a specific wine is at its peak.
A touch screen on the exterior of the wine cellar can be used to categorize, file into a designated space and track any bottle that comes into the cellar. If the bottle is taken out, just run it through the bar code scanner, and the inventory will be automatically updated.
What would a home of the future be without an army of iRobots? The iRobot Roomba Scheduler can set up to seven cleaning times to operate, even when you aren’t at home. The iRobot Scooba not only vacuums, but also squirts, scrubs, squeegees and dries floors with suction. Both are about the size of a dinner plate.
The robot goodness doesn’t stop indoors. The LawnBott Evolution keeps lawns trim–no human required. The Evolution uses adaptive programming technology to reprogram itself to meet a lawn’s changing cutting needs. The LawnBott can cut up to 33,000 square feet of grass and can even handle anything under a 27-degree incline.rnrn
The grass this Lawnbott is resting on is no typical grass. It’s called Drivable Grass and, with its porous structure, it has maximized water retention, meaning less runoff to oceans, lakes and other water supplies.
The Roboreptile (left) may seem to be somewhat of an anachronism, but that doesn’t mean it’s not cool. Manufactured by WowWee, it can be remote controlled or can roam freely to find food, and has various moods. The Draganfly V Ti (right) is more than just your average remote-control flying toy. With its ability to film, and then wirelessly transmit real-time video to a television, camcorder, VCR or computer, these high-tech toys might be a bigger hit with the “big kids” in the household.
What else will change in the home of the future? Your printer. 2D papers will be a thing of the past with the Dimension 3D printing groups latest. Need a blender? Just program the design into the printer, and some time later, you have a tangible, 3D plastic blender in your hands. They are available now, but currently cost as much as a mid-size car.
The iControl network camera may stand less than 3 inches tall, but it can serve as a watchful eye over homes in the future. It allows residents to monitor their house and control the home environment while they are away. The networked camera is one of a seven-part package, which includes a keychain remote, thermostat, and door and window sensor. The iControl system can also be used to monitor children and pets from a distance.
In the great room of the idea home sits the G-Tech ElekTex keyboard, paired with the Samsung Q1 Ultramobile PC. Weighing in at only 1.7 lbs., the Q1 combines the functions of a PDA, MP3 player, personal media player, storage device and tablet PC. The G-Tech ElekTex keyboard supports Bluetooth connectivity and is compatible with a variety of PDAs and smart phones.