When Back to the Future hit the big screen over three decades ago, we were swept up in the excitement of how technology might change everyday life. While hoverboards and food rehydrators still aren't a thing (sigh), there's something fascinating about future predictions. Neil Hughes, one of LinkedIn's most-read tech writers, has penned an article for Inc. about incredible new trends that will shape our home in the not-too-distant future. Less sci-fi, more fact-driven, these predictions give a sneak peek at what the future holds for home design. Scroll down to find out what your house might be like in years to come.
We have smartphones, but what about smart dishwashers or smart heating systems? The "Internet of Things," Hughes explains, is a network of products that are embedded with software. It's a term that has been used for years, but scientists and designers are closer than ever to making this tech prediction a reality.
Case in point: Amazon Echo, a cloud-based voice service that can hear you from long-distance range, controls lights and is constantly getting smarter with the addition of 95 skills since launch. CNET called it "the closest thing we'll ever have to a Star Trek computer at home."
Taking it one step further, Ford announced it has partnered with Amazon to create a fleet of fusion hybrids which combine cars with smart technology that extends beyond the road. "This will enable drivers to talk to devices in their home while equally offering the ability to start their car or check vehicle stats from the comfort of their favorite armchair," explains Hughes. Sounds farfetched? Ford says they aim to have the autonomous cars on the roads by 2020.
Fresh out of a scene from Star Wars, this prediction is perhaps the most exciting yet. Hughes sees tech companies "all stepping up their game to offer a Jetsons-like experience." He points to the SensorSphere, a robotic ball that will help you monitor your home and perhaps even help with chores. The HD camera–equipped robot will roll around your house to keep a virtual tab on the temperature, air quality, and humidity, among other things. As more devices become interconnected, you might even be able to ask your BB-8 to turn on the kettle or run a bath.
We know what you're thinking: If all our home décor receives a tech makeover, will the cost of living rise? According to Hughes, this brave new world will actually help you save money. Imagine "dashboards detailing energy and water consumption to highlight where savings can be made by merely tweaking those lifestyle habits that could be costing us more than we realize," he says. Energy wastage could become a thing of the past, as everything in your home will be trackable.
For the first time, ailments could be treated at home using an unexpected tool: video games. Frog Design's 2016 tech predictions include the first-ever FDA-approved game that will treat ADHD. With reports that big pharmaceutical companies are exploring games to treat illnesses such as Parkinson's disease, achieving good health could become possible without leaving your home.
Want to give your home a tech upgrade? Shop our edit of the hottest products to buy now, then head over to Inc. to read more of Neil Hughes's predictions for the future of home technology.
What is your prediction for home design in the future? Share your thoughts in the comments below.