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‘Uber Appliances’ Will Run the Home of the Future
John Caulfield / BUILDER / September 17, 2013
GE envisions (mostly) current technology applied to changing social and living needs.
Today’s visions of the home of the future often center on coupling smartphone and personal sensor technology with security.
“It’s about the home knowing where you are,” says Yves Behar, founder and principal designer for Fuseproject, an industrial design and brand development firm in San Francisco. In an interview with Dezeen magazine, Behar envisioned wristband sensors that can activate lights, the HVAC system, and appliances as an owner gets closer to his or her house.
Just how intimately owners want to bond biometrically with their houses remains to be seen. But product designers at least are convinced that future buyers and owners will demand more comfort, convenience, and safety from where they live.
That’s what GE Appliances is counting on. Over a 90-day period earlier this year, the Louisville, Ky.-based company assigned 25 designers and eight engineers to study trends in food science, demographic shifts, ecological issues, health care services, water scarcity, and home delivery. The goal was to come up with product concepts that are likely to change the way Americans live.
These “Home 2025” teams focused on functional improvements in kitchens, cooking, laundry, and the home environment. They concluded that an open-plan kitchen as an extension of a house’s living space is here to stay; that all age groups are embracing technology in their daily lives; that the interest in the relationship between health and home is growing; and that appliances will become more integrated into a house’s operations.