But perhaps one of the most interesting developments of the past ten years has been the smart home getting thrust into a more mainstream lifestyle. From home security systems to voice assistants, the smart home is quickly becoming the new standard.
What’s most fascinating, though, is that we’re just getting started. Can you imagine what the smart home will look like in another ten years?
If you can’t, that’s what we’re here for. Keep an eye out for these trends over the next decade.
The closest things we have to robot security now are stationary smart cameras and sensors that can detect suspicious motion. But companies like Design3 are taking that a step further, prototyping smart robots that keep tabs on the entire home.
The company’s concept for its CARL robot is to “be your eyes and ears at home.” CARL travels around using ballbot technology, its built-in cameras and sensors viewing the home for any unusual activity. It can also hear intruders and smell any changes in the air, including burning, allergens, and potentially noxious fumes. If anything is amiss, CARL can notify homeowners via an app.
Ten years from now, these types of robot security guards will be the norm. While you’re out of the house (even if you’re out of the country), they’ll make sure things keep running smoothly at home, giving you peace of mind while you’re gone and a sense of comfort when you return. After a while, these robots may know your house even better than you do.
Do you like to start off your morning with a certain song? Maybe some Carly Rae Jepsen while you’re brushing your teeth, a la Tom Hanks? Or perhaps you deem 9 p.m. your quiet time hour, where you’ll dim your bedroom lights to listen to a podcast or read a book before bed.
IoT company Crestron is just one company looking to revolutionize our daily routine via the smart home. As Crestron’s operating system discovers the preferences of its users, it can automatically play a certain song, or adjust the lighting in the room at a certain time of day.
Just think, in the next 10 years, your home could get to know you and your routine so perfectly that you wouldn’t even have to tell it to do anything. And this goes beyond playing a tune or adjusting a light. In 2030, the smart home will be so in tune with you, it can safely turn off the stovetop flame that you left burning because it knew you typically weren’t home at that time. You’d save on your energy bills and, you know, not burn your house down.
Cooking is a nightmare for many people. Chopping and slicing several ingredients en route to prepping a meal that may or may not turn out burned or undercooked? Not a fun time!
NVIDIA debuted its “kitchen manipulator” earlier this year, which is like having a sous chef right in your home. NVIDIA’s robot can track dirty dishes, open and close drawers, identify ingredients and make your meals for you.
Thanks to advancements like this, in ten years, sweating over making dinner will be a thing of the past. Don’t worry about slicing a finger trying to julienne another sweet potato. Even if you only know how to make a sandwich, the kitchen will be safe for all, thanks to robotic arms handling the bulk of the work. The arms can serve as a dietary aid, too. If you’re trying to sneak a piece of cake from the fridge just before bed, it’ll lock the refrigerator door.
Japan has been selling high-tech toilets for more than 30 years. These special thrones have features like calming music and heated seats, but there’s more business to be done in the place where...well, you do your business. And one of the guys at the forefront of this movement is Bill Gates, who spoke at a reinvented toilet expo in Beijing late last year.
Beyond Gates, companies like Panasonic and Toi Labs (with the cutely named TrueLoo) are already developing products that can analyze urine, looking for abnormalities in color, consistency, volume, and frequency. The toilets can use that data to detect potential health problems, including blood and protein deficiencies.
In the future, expect to have your entire commode chemically analyzed. It may sound invasive now, but if it could potentially save your life, it’ll be well worth it.
IKEA's external innovation lab, Space10, is currently working on its One Shared House 2030 project. The project, which surveys “applicants” on their ideal living situations, is based around a simple concept: people need interaction, and having a human connection is still going to be important in ten years.
The project is collecting insights on what’s most critical to a living situation. Do you want a furnished common room? Would you prefer living with singles or couples? Would you pay extra for a service layer to manage all of the household items, like energy usage and its subsequent costs – or even who enters the community?
It’s a flexible approach to living that captures insights to hopefully pair off compatible people. In 2030, we’ll still get lonely if we don’t see enough people throughout the week. Rather than having to go on endless friend dates to find someone we can call a roomie, we can have that data provided to us and take our pick of the field. It’s a match made in robot heaven.
All of these technological advancements will be here sooner rather than later. With the potential we’ve seen here, just imagine what else we’ll get to experience ten years from now.
Got a fussy kid who won’t get dressed in the morning? Pick up a robotic fashionista to choose an outfit and get ready for the day faster than Randy from A Christmas Story. The stylist will also provide an extra set of hands to wash faces and brush teeth. You won’t have to lift a finger!
Are you more of the athletic type? Pick up an AI opponent for your backyard basketball court or soccer pitch. In ten years, a robot goalie can surely defend better than what we’ve got now.
We’ll also see new things in the bedroom. Smart mattresses can currently adjust things like the angle of your bed and monitor your resting heart rate. But why stop there? In ten years, we’ll have smart technology that can take care of the entire sleeping process. Put a wearable on your head and it will count sheep, provide white noise, and keep your eyelids closed as you drift off into dreamland – where it will then create vivid dreams for your subconscious entertainment.
While we can currently are rewarded for our smart homes, it's hard to believe that today's super-connected homes will, someday, feel antiquated. But with the pace at which this new tech is advancing, 2020 could feel like "the old days" before we know it.