The Home Of The Future
The Home Of The Future – Exploring The Possibilities
The future is closer than you think. Every day there are significant advancements made in not only scientific and technological fields, but in manufacturing, mechanical and construction fields too. Technology has changed all of our lives in ways we would have never imagined decades, even years ago and we’ve adapted remarkably well. It’s surely only a matter of time before the traditional family homestead catches up to our ‘smart phones’, our ‘smart televisions’ and our ‘smart cars’ and joins us in the 21st century. The ‘home of the future’ is a concept which has been around since the start of the 20th century thanks to forward thinking science fiction writers such as Jules Verne and H.G Wells. Obviously the ideas put forward by such visionaries would now seem a little dated but, then so will our own current ideas in a hundred years. Below we’ve explored a few possibilities of just what OUR home of the future (circa 2013) might look like.
The home of the future will know when you wake up, when you eat your dinner and when you go to bed and it will be able to adapt to your daily routines. Whilst this might sound a little daunting (we all remember HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey right?), we’re not talking about sentient, ‘smart houses’ here, just subtle affectations that will make our daily lives more intuitive. For example the company ‘SmartThings’ has recently patented a system that will be able to detect when you get out of bed and can track you around your home. With this technology, a ‘smart hub’ will be able to turn on lights automatically as you enter a room, brew a fresh pot of tea as you step foot into the kitchen in the morning and even adjust your homes temperature to perfectly suit your own body temperature.
In the ‘home of the future’, everything will be automated and ‘in sync’. So your tablet or phone could potentially control not only your computers and the entertainment system in the living room but also your homes windows, security system, lighting, doors and even toilets using a universal operating system over WiFi such as iOS or Windows 8. Apps such as ‘Home OS’ already exist that can interact with a variety of household devices and as the technology becomes more readily available the possibilities will only increase.
Though it may not seem like a particularly ‘next level’ idea, proper ventilation is an important facet of any home and in the home of the future, your homes ventilation should be able to be completely automated. Top of the range ventilation systems are available today but at a significant cost that is generally only available to larger scale businesses. However, while such advanced systems are currently only feasible in larger buildings (office blocks and apartments for example), the advances being made will soon mean that the general public will be able to install these systems in their own homes. Ventilation systems are designed to control natural ventilation by utilising pre-existing mechanisms (vents and windows), making sure that any harmful smoke can be extracted safely from the building before it can cause any further damage. In the event of a fire, smoke inhalation is one of the main causes of death so these systems are designed to make sure that the areas of a building that will allow a safe exit (staircases and corridors) remain smoke free. All systems can be controlled remotely and are designed to extract not only smoke, but any potentially harmful airborne gases and pollutants.
Has the classic ‘brick house’ had its day? The building material of the future is thought to be electrochromatic glass, a material made up of numerous layers of metal and plastic. Electrochromatic glass can change its properties manually or automatically so that it can switch between completely see-through and completely opaque with just a flick of a switch. Electrochromatic glass is far from a cost-effective building material but there are other options. Self-healing concrete has particles embedded in it that allows cracks to heal themselves as soon as they appear and Biomimicry (already used at the ‘Dome’ in London) is a self-cleaning building material that allows rain and dirt to just roll off its surface.
The home of the future is no longer the stuff of dreams; it’s finally within our reach.
Jann Webb is a UK based copywriter who was recently floored by the forward thinking MPK Controls used for the ventilation system at the Millennium Dome in London. She intends to use them in her very own home of the future (after she’s won the lottery of course).