Microsoft has a vision of what it thinks our homes in the future will look like, and it’s no long your basic 90’s science fiction movie. Microsoft has actually developed a prototype of this home on its campus. These smart homes are, of course, dominated by Microsoft technology, such as Kinect cameras that can scan objects then 3D-print them at a moment’s notice, and patented touch screen technology that is intelligent enough to recognize the person or object interacting with it and responds appropriately.
This future smart home is completely connected and fluid in nature. It is powered entirely by touch screen monitors, both physical and projected. The projected touch screens appear when you need them and disappear when you don’t. You also have the option to resize them as your need requires.
The smart home is designed to simplify every aspect of daily life, right down to meal prep; you can choose to be guided by a virtual chef as you cook, and have instructions projected right on the physical surfaces next to you. No more running circles around your kitchen trying to get all the supplies you need, then navigating back to peer into your computer screen for the next step. The software is also intelligent enough to scan your refrigerator and pantry, and offer an alternative if it does not find a required ingredient.
The living room is designed to be the heart and center of your home. This room is dominated by panoramic 360 degrees of touch screen. These screens can wrap the room with a high-definition display of your favorite TV show or sporting event, or transport you to a distant land by projecting HD scenery from the place of your choice.
The walls have digital photo frames which, rotate photographs and art as programmed. These can also be programmed to detect who is in the room and then fill the room with personal preferences if so desired. The possibilities are literally endless.
The idea is to make technology invisible and omnipresent at the same time. Everything within the home is smart enough to interact with each individual resident. The dining table, for example, can detect the presence of children and offer playful projections which the children can not only view, but actually change by their behavior. The bedrooms too can be changed to a different color, mood setting and décor as per the changing whims of anyone who inhabits it.
Natural interface is the driving force behind making all of this technology accessible to everyone. An overload of information is not the answer to making our homes smarter’; rather it is about having the right information at the right time without having to think about it, or jump through hoops to access it.
This is the holy grail that Microsoft is after.
For a compete virtual tour of Microsoft’s prototype home, check out the 3-part video series below.