I love the movie Back to the Future (all 3 parts are pretty great to be honest). The 2nd film in the trilogy is great fun, as Marty McFly and the Doc head into the future, 30 years into the future to be honest, in 2015. There is a great scene where we see Marty’s future house, in which you are greeted at the door with an automated voice, sunglasses are worn that are attached to various media forms in the house, a ‘hydrating microwave’ device turning a 4 inch pizza into a 24 inch within 3 seconds, as well as on demand-voice controlled fruit! Genius. Now we are in 2014 – there are some technologies that we won’t get into mainstream Western houses in time, alas! (I’m still so excited by the hoverboard.I’m working on it – hoping for a prototype by the end of March). Often we think of this type of technology as far away and almost ‘unreachable’.
However, I recently read about a guy called Tom Coates who is shifting his house bit by bit to become a ‘smart house’. This includes sensors in his house that tell him when there is unexpected movement, (warning of potential security risks), let him know if its getting cold in his house and turns the heating on for him, as well as letting him know that certain plants are dry and need a water, and can even share with him things like the weather outside, and if things are broken. Also, he has a set up a control to the lights and heating in his house from his phone (whether he is in the house or not). Using the wifi, he can do an incredible amount. Something I love about all of this is that its all wired up to a twitter feed known as the ‘House of Coates’, that tell him all of this, and effectively the house automatically tweets as if it’s a member of the family.
However, my favourite thing about all of this – is that through a little bit of research, I’m discovering that this kind of technology is not out of reach to many people financially – the wifi sensors that connect to your phone for the lights, coffee machines, electric bed blankets cost about £40 each, this kind of technology is closer than we think!
So Back to the Future 2, in some ways we may be lagging behind a bit from your ideas of technological grandeur, but actually, in many ways we are keeping up and cracking on.
Any thoughts on technology being closer than we think?
(Thanks Wired UK for this article, another fascinating one – read about Tom and Smart Houses here).