We keep getting bombarded with new technology and the argument is still out whether it is for the better or the worse, so lets take a look at what are some of your home features that will no longer be relevant in 20 years time.
We have talked a lot about self driving cars and the changes they are going to have to how we live but we are yet to mention the big opportunity they provide on the housing level in that they will make garages redundant. With a major shift towards transport as a service, the average Joe will be able to remodel their property to take advantage of the extra space they have gained, be it adding another bedroom, utility room, or second lounge. We are already starting to see councils in large urban centres start to relax their rules on how many car park spaces are needed for each unit, this trend it likely to continue to the point where no council requires car parks or garages for new properties.
This probably comes as no surprise given each and every one of us already has email and have had for at least 10-20 years. However in the age of the internet the letterbox became more than just a place for letters, with online orders and deliveries increasing dramatically, letterboxes became a drop off point for parcels. But now with drone technology improving and with companies such as Amazon pushing patent after patent for drone tech we can say goodbye to the letterbox once and for all and hello to drone landing pads instead. These pads will have a beacon to signal to drones that it is the correct address, as well a trap door to receive the packages. On the other front digital mail is stepping up and with blockchain we might finally overcome the security issues that have faced us for more sensitive mail items.
Most people have seen the fancy new wireless electricity chargers released in the last couple of years. They work by using coils of wire to generate a magnetic field, when another coil comes close it sends a current through the air to the receiving device. However, kids growing up in the future will never need to plug in wires as they will have become completely unnecessary. The power plugs of tomorrow will emit electricity instead and you can simply choose where you want to put that lamp, your TV and best of all, your laptop and phone will constantly be charging.
From smart home systems equipped with face recognition, to sensors and even implanted = RFID chips, one thing is for sure, your key will not be necessary for long. Much of this technology already exists, we already have keyless entry for most new cars onto the market and this tech is starting to move into the home. The biggest focus right now has been using smartphones to unlock smart locks, these already exist on the market with most locks selling around the $300 USD mark – the biggest issues with this is obviously what do you do if your phone goes flat. But as technology moves from being phone based to being more integrated with humans, we might be able to use glasses, contacts or whatever smart system we are using at the time to have seamless locking and unlocking of doors. Even right now there is a certain sector of techno geeks who have chips implanted into their body that they use to unlock doors.
DARPA (that futuristic research facility in the US that brought us the internet and GPS) is currently working on futuristic materials that can repair themselves. The goal of the ‘Engineered Living Materials’ programme is to create a new class of material, this will save billions in ongoing maintenance on a national scale, but will also play its part on the individual scale as well. Imagine if your driveway would self heal fixing any cracks or eating up oil spills, non flaking paint, roofs that self heal if they suffer heat damage, or even a self cleaning chimney. How this will look is yet to be seen, already in existence are biobricks – bricks made with mushroom or injected with bacteria in order to self heal, but the material of the future could be much more complex. One possible route could be living material that can be coded at the cellular level to create any shape you want.
So don’t get too attached to your keys or your power plugs as things are going to change over the next couple of decades. Expect more items within your home to connect to the internet of things and items to start having multiple uses.