Putting Tomorrow Back in Tomorrowland: House of the Future

14 Feb

I was glad to see this week that Disneyland’s bringing back the House of the Future. Strangely, it sounds a little like my own dwelling place, at least according to Wired (hat tip: Theme Park Insider):

Lights and thermostats will automatically adjust when people walk into a room. Closets will help pick out the right dress for a party. Countertops will be able to identify groceries set on them and make menu suggestions.

Thanks goodness my closet always knows the right thing to wear! Otherwise I’d still be exclusively dressing in Garanimals.

Once again, this is almost enough to make me wish I’d booked a trip for Disneyland this summer, instead of heading to Orlando for one of the Star Wars Weekends. Just imagine strolling through this section of the house on Goth Day:

Mirrors and closets could identify clothes and suggest matching outfits, complimentary colors or track what apparel is at the cleaners or in the wash.

Let’s see . . . black, black, and black. What goes together now?

I suppose I should be providing a little commentary here about the technological giants that are coming together to sponsor the House of the Future: Microsoft Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., software maker LifeWare and homebuilder Taylor Morrison. I have no doubt that all these companies have interesting stuff to offer, as they’re all heavily aimed at the consumer market (with Microsoft and HP of course also having corporations in their sights).

I can’t help thinking, though, that it would have been interesting to see what would have happened had they included a couple companies focused more intensely on virtual/augmented reality, rapid prototyping, or biomedical sciences. What if your mirror could not only suggest an outfit, but show you how you’d look in an alternative dress that better flattered your figure, and allow you to print out a prototype complete with patterns to bring to your tailor? What if your countertop could not only suggest recipes, but notice your blood pressure is running a bit low, and suggest some added salt? If we’re gonna think Tomorrowland, let’s really think big!

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