What big technological changes await us in our homes? The future of those familiar walls could be fantastic and somewhat scary.
The biggest changes in our homes will be in our living rooms, garages and bathrooms, predicts Michio Kaku, theoretical physicist and author of Physics of the Future and Physics of the Impossible. Kaku gave the keynote address about the Intuitive Home of the future at the CEDIA (Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association) Expo Wednesday night.
Computer chips will cost a penny, and millions of chips will be scattered throughout the world. “Computers will be everywhere and nowhere,” Kaku says. Eventually, he adds, your floor, wall, and ceiling will have chips in them, and you will talk to walls. “The word computers will disappear from the English language.”
You will be able to access the Internet through glasses, like the concept Google Glasses, or through contact lenses. Images will be sent to the retina or appear on the eyepiece. “You will blink and be online.”
Kaku says you’ll sit and be surrounded by four walls, each shooting 3D video at you. Glassless 3D will be possible via lenticular optics, in which each of thousands of vertical lines act as a prism that cuts images in half and send half to left eye and half to the right. Intelligent wallpaper in our homes will allow you to change decoration and also feature a robotic doctor in the wall. You’ll even celebrate around the wall.
Cars will be connected to the homes to charge electric vehicles. “The car will drain power from the home, and the car and home will have to talk to each other. They will have learning capability. The car and the home will become one—as well as everything else—and be tailored to your tastes.
Your bathroom will have more computing power than university hospitals, Kaku says. A medicine cabinet will have a little pill containing a tiny computer chip and magnet that, once swallowed, will give you an instant and hassle free colonoscopy, lending new meaning to the phrase ‘Intel Inside,’ he says. Your toilet could conquer cancer by telling that you eat too much, and identify proteins and enzymes so you’ll essentially have a physical each time to use the bathroom.
In addition, Kaku says our home offices will have disposable scrap paper for computers and files that follow you around so you can access them from anywhere.
What will all this ubiquitous computing power and technology do in the home? It will cause chaos, says Brett Price, president of home automation company Clare Controls in a panel discussion on the Intuitive Home. “As more and more of these systems appear in the home, people will be overwhelmed.”
Though, as Crestron founder George Feldstein warned, “The average man won’t pay for the programming to put the universe in his home.”
“We’ll need to make things talk to each other and be simple,” adds Price.
Citing the effects of social media, Feldstein also said that technology has a way of dehumanizing society. “It has to be moderated,” he said. “Be careful what you wish for.”
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Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates