"Future Proofing" - A major trend in home buying

July 15 2008 / by Antonio Manfredi / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: The Home   Year: General   Rating: 15 Hot

With all the media attention focused on the financial chaos of the housing industry, technology is emerging as an even more powerful force of change. More and more home buyers are placing emphasis on technology, or lack thereof, in the process of buying their new home. This is causing a surge in demand for technologies that are changing the way we have looked at homes for generations, all driven by an increasingly educated home buyer that’s looking toward the future for efficient new products and solutions.

Industry experts, corporations, and consumers are all pointing to the same trend within the housing industry: the home is no longer looked at as mere bricks and mortar, but rather as a technological platform with the capability to adapt. Technology is seen as a means to carry the concept of an affordable and liveable private home into the 21st century, a concept now under attack.

Homes, followed by cars, represent the single biggest investment for the average American. They also consume the most resources, causing the biggest pain to our wallets. They are also a place where we spend a significant amount of time, perhaps our most important resource of all. There is no doubt that the home represents a major part of our lives, both economically and in terms of quality of life.

Despite some advances the home has been slow to change hundreds of years. Studies have shown that the housing industry has been the least innovative of our major industries despite its size. Most people realize this is unsustainable, given the problems facing the world today. In response consumers are creating an insatiable demand for technology within the home. (cont.)

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Fabricating the Modern Dwelling: MOMA Unveils Home Delivery

July 17 2008 / by Antonio Manfredi / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: The Home   Year: 2008   Rating: 12 Hot

The Metropolitan Museum of Art unveils an exhibition that shows the technological innovation behind the pre-fabricated home. These made to order homes may represent the homes of the future.

Highlighting the growing innovation in pre-fab homes, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has unveiled an exhibit highlighting the technological innovation behind the pre-fab home and how designers are responding to global trends.

Unveiled at the show will be a full scale prototype of the System 3, a design by Architects Oskar Kaufman and Albert Ruf. After years of pursuing the optimum in high quality low cost design, the System 3 is the pinnacle of austere elegance. Looking like a direct cousin of a shipping container the System 3 abandones traditional notions of architectural design. The truly intersting aspect of it’s design however is it’s ability to be “stacked”, taking multiple units and creating anything from hotels to office towers and luxury villas. (cont.)

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OFF THE GRID: An Untethered Future

July 20 2008 / by Antonio Manfredi / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: The Home   Year: General   Rating: 8 Hot

Events of the last five years have shown us that living on the grid, dependent on large utility companies, has been anything but stable. Large electric companies, still reliant on fossil fuel to generate power, have been forced to raise prices dramatically. An antiquated series of electrical lines, transformers, and switches have produced devastating blackouts that have cost our economy billions. With global demand for energy expected to rise, and the cost of upgrading infrastructure approaching hundreds of billions, living off the grid may become a highly plausible and desirable future for many people.

In order to live off the grid you need to tie production and consumption together, creating small scale systems for water and power that require no outside support. It also requires a heavy dose of conservation and efficiency, utilizing a system that operates within the constraints of a limited source. Living off the grid requires a large up front investment in equipment and expertise, and a pioneering spirit. Costs for solar and wind generation systems routinely cost tens of thousands of dollars, yielding a cost per kilowatt hour that exceeds that of the grid. Nonetheless it is becoming an option many people are beginning to consider as the marketplace changes. More and more people are looking to raw materials for energy that are free, inexhaustible, and clean.

As innovation and subsidies collide in the market to create critical mass for residential solar and wind systems, it is reasonable to expect demand for these technologies to grow. According to Solar Buzz, a San Francisco-based industry research company, demand for solar power has grown 20-25% a year for the last twenty years. Many of these applications of solar power come in the form of on the grid solutions, however many of these are distributed at the point of use. It is however the biggest choice for off the grid applications. Demand has grown so fast that more silicon now goes into photovoltaics than computer chips. (cont.)

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The Future of Energy is Personal

October 01 2008 / by John Heylin / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Energy   Year: 2008   Rating: 5 Hot

There are many that see huge potential in windmill farms, solar fields and huge geothermal operations. And there is huge potential. Energy is a resource we seemingly cannot live without and can never get enough of. In fact, electricity may as well rank up there with water in level of importance.

But the problem facing the average consumer is that even if these huge projects are undertaken, they are still dependent on a large company for their energy needs. They are subject to rate hikes, unfair charges, and development costs the company undertakes. How can the average person release themselves from the shackles of energy addiction?

Solar panels are a good start, but for many the idea of keeping track of battery fluid levels, the cost of the panels themselves, as well as winter months without Sun keeps floating in the back of their heads. Installing a windmill in their backyard is also out of the question, unless of course you have acres to spare and don’t mind the occasional malfunction.

One genre of products that have the potential to take the consumer market by storm is the micro wind turbine.

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Mapping the Body: the New Marketplace

August 19 2008 / by John Heylin / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Entertainment   Year: General   Rating: 4

The most amazing thing about some of the movies hitting theaters nowadays is their uncanny ability to map human movement for special effects. Case in point are creatures such as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, the great ape in King Kong, and of course the infamous movie Beowulf which mapped out the actors bodies so accurately that in some of the shots you’d have sworn they weren’t computerized images. It only makes sense that this kind of technology would gradually find its way into the broader consumer market.

Already people are spending hundreds on golf clubs that measure swing speed and trajectory, or gloves that tell you if you’re gripping the handles too hard. In fact there are even devices out there already that can tell you where your swing is wrong, if your feet are too far apart, or if your posture is poor. You can buy equipment and software that can work for just about any sport. Tennis, bowling, baseball or track and field to name a few. Heck, even curling, the greatest Olympic sport in the world, could benefit from video analysis.

Down the road we could see the technology get so advanced that instead of having to carry around 30 pounds of equipment costing over a thousand dollars, all we’ll need is an add-on to our digital cameras. Coupled with expert analysis instead of self-analysis, this product could change the importance and role of coaches worldwide.

Sports are perfect for this technology, but what other applications could this be used for?

Imagine taking tango lessons in your home with a world-class dancer telling you where you’re going wrong and what you’re doing right. A culinary program showing you the proper way to clean a fish or prepare cherries jubilee. If we really expand our minds, how about a mobile program on a sailboat speaking into your ear piece whether you’re on the port side instead of starboard, or telling you how to tie a knot step by step. What would you think about taking karate lessons from Jet Li?

If you enjoy Wii Fit, imagine playing a video game that depends on your every move. When attacking an entrenched bunker you have to lay lay flat on the ground, then jump up quickly to sprint across a mine field. Or maybe you have to dodge a lineman to dive and score the winning touchdown.

The possibilities are almost endless and not all that far from feasible.

But would there be a downside to this kind of technology?

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8 Visions: Home of the Future

March 13 2008 / by Venessa Posavec / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Technology   Year: Beyond   Rating: 2

The purpose of technology is to make our lives easier and more fun. So, why not bring that mentality into the comfort of our home?

From wireless home area networks connecting all your electronics to robots who will clean your kitchen, check out a few high-tech visions of the future of the home.

Ten Technologies for the Digital Living RoomBBC

How to Stay Online, Even in Your SleepDiscovery

Small and Fabulous: Modular Living as It Should Be Wired

Fast Forward to the Smart KitchenCNet

The Microsoft Home of the Future Computer Ideas

The World Outside Your Window Will Be Artificial Portension

Kitchen-Cleaning RobotThe Future of Things

Disneyland Goes Back to the Future CNN

New Structure Re-Defines the Term "Mobile Home" by Walking On Legs

November 06 2008 / by John Heylin / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Gadgets   Year: Beyond   Rating: 2

Some crazy smart people over at MIT collaborated with a Danish design group to make a house that moves on legs.

The house, which reportedly can move up to five kilometers per hour, comes equipped with all the necessities for a personal dwelling. “The house is ten feet high, powered by solar panels, and is outfitted with a kitchen, toilet, bed, and wood stove.” What makes this different than a traditional motor home is that it can pass over objects where a tire might have a problem. It can reportedly “turn left and right, move forward and back, and even change height as needed.” In a sense, a true mobile home.

The hope is to eventually create a dwelling capable of climbing hills and navigating over rough terrain. They even hope to build a model which could also float on water for both land and sea adventures.

But is this a practical invention?

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