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Fifty years ago, renowned scientist and science-fiction author Isaac Asimov published his essay “Visit to the World’s Fair of 2014”. This essay, written in the wake of his visit to the World’s Fair of 1964, speculated on the technologies that might fill the exhibition halls of the future. Asimov’s predictions are eerily close to the mark, with microwaves, frozen meals, microprocessors, solar power stations, video conferencing and tablet computers all making an appearance. However, as 2014 drew to a close, our pockets and homes are host to technologies that sit even beyond the imaginations of Asimov and his futurologist contemporaries.
In the spirit of Asimov’s essay, here are three of the latest technologies that could change modern homes, and how we interact with them, in the not-too-distant future.
Orbital Washing Machines
Prepared in conjunction with the Electrolux Design Lab, Elie Ahovi’s concept washing machine aims to clean your clothes without using any water at all. Instead of the current technique – tumbling your clothes in a soapy barrel – this concept washing machine uses a combination of electromagnetism and a continuous blast of dry ice to simply ‘separate’ the dirt from the fabric. Unlike conventional methods, this new machine is purported to almost entirely reduce the likelihood of damage and shrinking during washing. Not only that, the process is said to take only a few minutes and deliver completely dry, clean clothes to its user. However, while no water is used, energy consumption in current models is highly inefficient.
Smart Home Automation
The average new home of the future will feature even more advanced automated air conditioning and lighting systems, and simple Articial Intelligence (AI) systems will be used to track your habits and adjust the home environment to your tastes. Sensors will track your movements throughout the home and, paired with your mobile phone, smart watch or smart glasses, keep your favourite music, movie or TV programme playing only in the rooms you’re using. Intelligent cleaning devices will keep your home neat and tidy without input, and smart appliances will monitor the condition of foods and beverages stored within them. Soon enough, we can hope, arguments about leaving lights on, toilet seats up, or clothes unwashed will become things of the past!
Using technology originally developed in the aerospace industry, thermal wall lining aims to decrease the time it takes to heat rooms, minimise condensation and reduce the amount of heat escaping buildings via walls and ceilings. At just over £5 per metre, thermal wallpapers are also reported to provide sound proofing up to 35%. The manufacturers’ report an overall energy consumption reduction of 35% and a dramatic lowering of long-term maintenance costs arising from moisture damage. It can be applied directly to walls and ceilings and can be painted or wallpapered easily. Thermal wallpapers are available to buy now.
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