For anyone who has ever dreamed of a Jetsons-inspired way of life, the wait is almost over. While flying cars and hover boards are still a while away, the home of the future is almost within our reach.
Business futurist and four-time best-selling author Michael McQueen predicts the home to become more important than ever as home and office merge to become one and the same. “Many companies and employees are already embracing this trend and telecommuting will continue to grow in popularity across multiple sectors,” he says.
With home set to become our workstation and sanctuary, it will be more important than ever that home design and functionality reflects our changing lifestyles. Take a peek into the future to see how we're all going to be living.
The Cloud sofa.
You don't have to look far into the future to see the desktop computer and home phone completely disappear, McQueen predicts it will happen within the next 10 years. “This is already happening in many households with web-enabled TV's (IPTVs), tablet devices and of course smartphones continuing to take the place of PCs and landline phones,” he says.
Home automation systems such as the LG HomeChatTM will become common place in the home of the future and allow you to communicate directly with your refrigerator, washing machine or vacuum via text or email. You could consult your fridge on what you should cook for dinner depending on what its current contents are, ask your robotic vacuum when it last cleaned or tell your washing machine to start a cycle.
Crack a hinge on your vertical blinds? Print a new one. Need an extra napkin holder for your dinner party? Print one. 3D printing is expected to have a huge impact on how our homes function in the years to come.
“With the use of rubber and metal-like substances in 3D printing becoming an option, this is set to revolutionise so many things. The focus for companies will no longer be in manufacturing and distribution, but in providing consumers with the templates for printing,” says McQueen.
Bed manufacturer Sealy recently commissioned the Future of Sleep report with futurist, Morris Miselowski, to provide an insight into the bedroom of 2055. It revealed that technology will be integrated into our bedding to monitor vital signs, check sleep patterns and create the optimal sleeping environment with lights, temperature and humidity all automatically controlled. Creating the perfect environment for a good night's sleep will go one step further with every bed we sleep in, be it at home, in a hotel or at a friend's. It will recognise us, know our sleep patterns, preferred mattress firmness, pillow preference and linen requirements to automatically reconfigure the feel of the bed to be just like our one at home.
Turkish designer Fatih Can Sarioz has designed a space-saving solution for families of the future who still want to enjoy meals together. The Kure starts as a sphere shape and opens like a flower into a six-seater dining table. Meals also take on a futuristic feel when imbued with blue light, which is emitted from the base.
In the future, any time for relaxation will be highly valued. What better way to take a load off than on a cloud. The Cloud Sofa by D.K & Wei uses a magnetic force generated from the base to elevate the soft cloud-like upper cushion. It's big enough for the ultimate power nap or to sit quietly and watch the world go by.
The website describes it best, "A sleek and stylish inner spaceship designed to transport the user to a new world of absolute calm and tranquillity".
In the future, not even a bathtub is a bathtub any more: the I-Sopod floatation tank promises a "womb-like" experience. Underwater LED lighting, a built in MP3 player and innovative filtration complete the zen-like experience.