As science continues to advance, opportunities are opening up for us to make our homes high-tech. Our environments will cease being passive shelters and will instead transform into objects with which we can interact. Furthermore, nanotechnology is going to become an increasingly large part of the picture, with systems that manipulate our environments on the molecular level. It sounds unbelievably high tech. But we’re living in the future, and it’s happening.
You might not think it, but home technology is already a conspicuous part of your setup. People hailed TV remotes as incredible technology when they first appeared, but now we hardly notice they’re there.
The difference today is the sheer speed at which things are changing. Time, if you like, is speeding up. We’re cramming more and more innovations into each passing year. And that means that we’re shocked by the pace of developments more often. It’s hard to believe that home assistants weren’t available five years ago. Now they’re mainstream. It’s remarkable progress when you think about it.
So what’s coming down the pike next for our homes? And more to the point, what’s already here that we just don’t know about yet?
Refrigerators That Know When They Need Restocking
Our lives are so busy, we don’t have time to think about whether we have all the ingredients we need in our fridges. We’re not spreadsheets or calculators. Our interests lie elsewhere.
And yet, we somehow have to keep track of what we have so we don’t run out of ingredients or waste those we don’t use. It’s a real chore.
Refrigerator makers know this, which is why they’re working busily to develop units that will actually tell you what you need.
When it comes to smart fridges, it’s still early days. But firms are investigating how they can use image recognition software to determine what products are inside the refrigerator so that they can connect to apps that tell owners what they need to buy.
The ultimate version of this system is one in which the refrigerator actually does the ordering all by itself. If it detects that you’re running low on ingredients, it sets up an order for you that arrives with your grocery delivery. That sort of technology sounds super helpful in a pandemic-ridden world.
Toilets That Measure Your Health
Whenever you go on the internet and start investigating the alternative health scene, you find them saying the same thing over and over – “the route to health is through the gut.”
We’re so used to conventional medicine that a statement like this sounds a little strange at first. The gut is just one system in the body right? What could it possibly have to do with my headaches or high blood pressure?
But when you investigate the matter a little further, you soon discover that what happens in your bowels has a massive bearing on the rest of your health. In fact, it’s hard to imagine how it could be more important.
Modern science is catching up with this idea. In recent years, researchers have extolled the virtues of having a healthy microbiome (collection of bacteria) in your stomach. They associate good microbes with the absence of disease, both mental and physical. It’s quite remarkable.
That’s why we’re seeing so much interest in the idea of smart toilets. The concept sounds a little gross. But since you have to poop anyway, you might as well grab as much data from your stools as possible. It provides an insight into your overall wellbeing.
The idea is simply in theory. Essentially, brands are looking at ways to turn the average toilet into a stool sample laboratory. But instead of sending your waste off to a lab in the post, you have one in your bathroom.
It turns out that you can glean a massive amount of information about a person’s health from your stools that you can’t get through standard wearables, like smartwatches. Your toilet could become the first thing to diagnose you with diabetes or warn that you might have cancer and should go and see a doctor. Everyone will have early detection in their homes.
We could even see the development of toilets that help to coach people as they go to the bathroom. If you’re constipated, it’s not always easy to get the job done. But a soothing therapy toilet offering words of wisdom could make the whole process so much easier.
Today, we think HEPA air purifiers are the gold standard and that nothing can compare with their efficacy. After all, healthcare practitioners use them in medical settings.
It turns out, though, that HEPA is not the best technology available. If you check out Molekule’s blog – a company that develops filters – you’ll discover that there are much more advanced solutions available.
These filters work in a fundamentally different way from their regular brethren. Instead of trapping air as it passes through them in a mesh, they capture molecules and then break them down into their constituent parts – all of which are harmless.
What’s fascinating about this new nanotechnology is that the original composition of the molecule doesn’t matter. A virus is a collection of billions of molecules arranged in a particular structure. You wouldn’t think that a chemical reaction would be able to take this microbe and convert it into harmless carbon dioxide and water, but it can. It just depends on applying the correct reactive process.
When it comes to home air purity, this technology fundamentally changes the game. You’re not just capturing particles on a surface; you’re disassembling them into harmless byproducts.
Thanks to advances in the cloud, software and home internet, centralized entertainment is something that you can already use and enjoy today. The idea is pretty simple. It’s the notion that you should be able to consume entertainment on any device, no matter where you are in the house.
Already, there are services that offer this kind of experience. If you start watching a film on your TV but want to finish it on your phone, you can. You just flip devices, and that’s it. Simple.
Imagine the convenience that this sort of arrangement offers. You don’t have to spend time fiddling around with wires or cables. And you don’t have to interrupt your viewing pleasure when you go to the kitchen or bedroom. It’s all there for you, on your mobile device.
Home Power Plants
Paying for energy is a real chore. Every month, a utility provider sends you a bill for all the electricity you used, eating into your finances.
Wouldn’t it be better to just generate energy yourself for free?
The answer is undoubtedly yes, but until recently, your only option was to run a diesel generator. And they’re loud, polluting and expensive to run.
Now, though, we see a dramatic change in possibilities, brought about by technology. You can now get solar panels for your room and connect them to lithium-ion batteries to give you the energy you need to run your home during the evening.
What’s more, this technology continues to improve. Modern solar panels won’t look like large blue squares. They’ll just meld into your home and look the same as regular building materials.
Battery technology is going to change too. There’s enormous economic pressure to find chemistries that allow manufacturers to cram more energy into a smaller volume. Solid-state batteries that use a solid electrolyte are not only safer, but provide more output and last longer to boot.
Having a power plant at home could become something that the government recommends, even if it hurts the interests of big business. It would mean a greener, more prosperous population, more robust to things like power outages.
Robots That Help With The Dishes
Boston Dynamics is one of the most fascinating companies operating at the moment. The company is a robotics company spun out of MIT and makes a bunch of animal and human-like robots using the most advanced technology on the planet right now.
If you hop on the company’s website, you can see all kinds of crazy demonstrations of the power of the company’s technology. There are videos of humanoid robots doing backflips, stacking shelves, and running over rough terrain.
Interestingly for our purposes, there are also robots that could potentially help you with the dishes. There’s demonstrations of Spot Mini – a dog-like robot with an arm on its back – helping to put away dirty crockery in the dishwasher for you, so you don’t have to do it.
The system isn’t perfect. And if you want to buy one of these robots, you’ll have to join a long waiting list. But it’s clear the way the wind is blowing. Home robots will likely become a reality in the next ten years. It’s going to happen sooner than people think.
Home technology has always seemed to lag behind the times. But things are now moving forwards as robotics and nanotechnology seeps out of its traditional domains. We could all be living in a Jetsons world in the near future. Perhaps we already are.