Forget about finding an old fixer upper to live out your golden years, today's homes are all about cutting-edge technology that blurs the edge between science fiction and reality. Already, many new technologies are popping up in seemingly "normal" homes that call to mind familiar scenarios from our favorite science fiction films, TV shows and even books. Is it just a matter of time before high-tech housing becomes the norm?
As recently reported in USA Today, major tech companies like Microsoft, Apple, Samsung and Google are jockeying to be in position to design the best "smart house" on the block. While this may be a big deal for homeowners with the cash to shell out for one of these interactive homes, the concept of a computer or robot controlled designer house is nothing new to hardcore science fiction fans. One of Ray Bradbury's most classic cautionary tales, "There Will Come Soft Rains," features a house that seems to run itself, even after the ravages of nuclear fallout destroy its inhabitants. The story has been adapted by countless animators, perhaps most notably in this 1987 version by Russian director Nazim Tulyakhodzayev.
While Bradbury's vision spoke to American's fears about technology and technological weaponry, today's smart homes align with our growing comfort with new technology, especially for keeping our homes safe, green and full of built in entertainment options.
Despite the additional comforts that many of these smart homes promise to provide, some of the designs still look downright bizarre. Sure, solar panels to save on electricity and roller shades to better modulate light and temperature are great ideas, but what about the crazy looking structures being designed in some of the planet's largest cities? Some of today's most innovative homes are being created in dense urban spaces where designers need to make due with limited square footage. This "weave house" featured in a recent Forbes' article bears a striking resemblance to the chilling wall of cocoons shown in the 1999 sci-fi classic, "The Matrix." Make sure to choose your red or blue pill wisely before signing the lease on that futuristic home.
Not all futuristic homes call up visions of scary sci-fi flicks; in fact, there are several futuristic living spaces that look positively peaceful. Poland's Deep Ocean Technology design group created a stunning hotel space designed to incorporate underwater quarters so guests can look out their window and see the vibrant ocean life all around them. The mockups look beautiful and elegant, and one can imagine enjoying the unique accommodations as much as Richard Dreyfuss and his pals did in 1969's “Hello Down There,” a goofy musical comedy about a family and a pop band living together in an underwater home prototype.
Innovative, Functional Design
It's not only the structures themselves that science fiction has predicted, there are also plenty of design techniques being used that closely mirror some of the most beloved scenes from high-tech films over the years. For example, the rotating doorway design in Stanley Kubrick's classic, “2001: A Space Odyssey.”
The sets were designed in a clean, totally functional way that anticipated some of the more innovative homes being built today, like the equally practical and elegant tornado-proof home designed by Ted Givens in conjunction with Hong Kong's 10Design studio.
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