The best technology advances are the ones that improve people’s lives. Usually, when we talk about improving lives, we mean that in big ways — tech that brings mobility to people who were disabled or improves job safety, for instance. But some tech advances serve us in little ways, bringing comfort and convenience to our daily lives. And those gadgets that make life more pleasant end up earning a special place in our hearts. Who would want to live without a remote control TV or a mobile phone? Here are some comforts you won’t want to live without in the future.
The Amazon Echo is a voice-activated computer center for your home. It’s a voice-activated Bluetooth device that can control other smart devices in your home (such as thermostats and light bulbs) by voice. Through the Echo, Alexa (Amazon’s answer to Siri) can also answer your questions, tell you the weather, keep your grocery list, and feed you important reminders. People who have bought the device report either becoming completely dependent on it or forgetting to use it entirely; if you think you’d be a power user, Echo is definitely worth the price tag.
These transparent screens are straight out of movies like The Avengers or Minority Report. They are so thin you can store them anywhere, and they pretty much disappear when you’re not using them. Imagine having a television big enough to enjoy the latest films on Netflix without having a giant black box dominating one wall of your home. Expect this technology to come to your computer monitor next.
Smart thermostats let you control the temperature in your home by zone, so you can keep the bedrooms comfortable at night and the living areas comfortable by day. This specificity brings new efficiency to your HVAC system, improving your comfort while saving you money and reducing your carbon footprint at the same time. Smart thermostats also offer schedule controls, including remote controls for days your schedule changes on the fly.
The refrigerator has always been a hub for families, holding everything from your shopping list and family calendar to the kids’ artwork. New smart appliances like the Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator are automating those functions. This fridge has a touch screen that can display your family members’ schedules, leave notes, order groceries, and watch TV. Internal cameras take a photo every time you close the door and e-mail them to you, so you can check the interior of your fridge while you’re at the store.
Smart home technology is advancing rapidly. Some of this technology is already mainstream and affordably priced; other smart gadgetry is more experimental and avant-garde. But it seems very clear that we are headed in the direction of smart homes that are controlled by apps on our phones. This technology offers one very clear advantage that will simplify our lives in the future; instead of having remote controls for all our various devices, from the ceiling fan to the space heater to the TV, we’ll have just one device to lose.