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The Future of Home Automation

Back in the 50s and 60s, the future of home automation was imagined in the absence of wireless connectivity, which resulted in visions of robots, rocketry and living like <em>The Jetsons</em>.</br></br>Now, the future of home automation <em>is</em> wireless connectivity and <a title="Wired" href="http://www.wired.com/2014/01/googles-3-billion-nest-buy-finally-make-internet-things-real-us/" target="_blank">Google’s acquisition of Nest</a> along with <a title="PC Mag" href="http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2469091,00.asp" target="_blank">Amazon’s push to expand its Lab126 division</a> is a clear indicator that Internet leaders have a strong interest in automating your home – and selling you things to make your life easier along the way.</br></br>We can see where this is headed in the short term: controlling your lighting, heating and security from your mobile device, getting text alerts about your oven being on, using your phone to warm up the whirlpool before you get home from work and the like.</br></br>But, what about 20 years from now? 50 years? What do we <em>really</em> want?</br></br><strong>1. Self-Cleaning Bathrooms</strong></br></br>This isn’t so far-fetched. Imagine a bathroom with sealable cabinets and doors and a large central drain. You just flick a switch and high-powered jets inside steam it, soap it, hose it down and dry it; like a car wash.</br></br>All you need to do is remove your towels and make sure your toothbrush is stowed. <em>Sweet.</em></br></br><strong>2. Robots</strong></br></br>We’re not talkin’ about robotic vacuums and lawnmowers, although they are super cool. We’re talkin’ about legit robots that do <em>all the things</em>. <a title="CNN" href="http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/15/world/asia/japans-robot-revolution/" target="_blank">It’s already happening in Japan</a>. They wash the car, they take out the trash, they massage your feet after a long day at the office …</br></br>… but they may also malfunction and start taking hostages. We’ve all seen <em>The Terminator</em>. So, if we get robots they need to come with a lot of guarantees and a remote kill switch.</br></br><strong>3. Paramagnetic House Paints</strong></br></br>Paramagnetic paint is a polymer that, when applied over paint, can be jolted with an electric current to cause a color-changing effect. Yes, it’s real, and <a title="Daily Tech" href="http://www.dailytech.com/Nissan+Develops+Color+Changing+Paint+for+Vehicles/article9611.htm" target="_blank">Nissan experimented with it</a> some time ago on prototype vehicles; however, the concept was never brought to market.</br></br>Now, imagine if this paint existed for the interior and exterior of your home. Wow. The current problem (heh heh) is that drywall and other common home materials won’t conduct the electricity needed to create the color change, but it’s likely only a matter of time before they figure it out.</br></br><strong>4. Central Vacuum Systems</strong></br></br>What if, instead of lugging that unwieldy vacuum from room to room, you could just plug a hose into the wall, flip a switch, vacuum and then be done with it? Wouldn’t that be awesome?</br></br>Gotcha! We already have these, and they’ve been around for some time. In fact, they used to be quite popular, but for whatever reason they fell out of fashion. Even so, experts say they’re relatively easy to install and can add thousands to your property value.</br></br>And that’s some futuristic food for thought.
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