Here's what your future home of 2050 could look like
Image credit: Mike Massaro
London’s Museum of the Home this weekend opens a special exhibition that imagines how we’ll be living in 2050 – complete with talking toilets and living wallpaper.
Tomorrow’s Home imagines a home thirty years into the future that’s inhabited by three very different occupants of different generations, outlooks and interests.
Imagined healthcare technologies are embedded in everyday household objects and routines, from artificial intelligence that recreates memories for dementia patients, to a toilet that can monitor health and wellbeing, doormats that recognise the homeowner’s walking styles to detect intruders and toothbrushes implanted with tiny sensors that analyse saliva for any changes in bacteria levels. Other features include wallpaper that analyses the household’s mood using microbes, perfectly optimised ‘smart’ food to snack on and smart sensors installed throughout the home.
This future house vision is full of technology but it’s shaped by today’s big global trends, from ageing to climate change. Academics from various disciplines within the UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering contributed different ‘rooms’ to the house, making for an imaginative result that goes well beyond the smart fridge.
"The inspiration for this exhibition stems from real research going on at UCL,” said Professor Rebecca Shipley, director of the UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering. "Academics here are at the forefront of advances in artificial intelligence, 3D-printing, nano-sensing and other innovations that will shape the future of our lives."
"Tomorrow’s Home brings this research to life in a dynamic way that showcases the latest innovations in this area while inspiring wider conversations about how our homes might better support and improve our health and wellbeing in the future."
"Technology is transforming homes all over the world and it is no surprise it will continue to have an impact on our homes in the future," said curator Vanessa Meade. "The Museum of the Home is delighted to welcome an imagining of this through Tomorrow’s Home."
"This exhibition focuses not on technology that can tell us when to order more milk, but on how health technologies in the home could have a real and lasting impact on the way we live in the future – whilst also considering the cost to our privacy."
Some of the specific research from UCL IHE that inspired the exhibition includes the work of Professor Ivana Drobnjak (UCL Computer Science) on a range of sensors to capture information around the home and share it with medical professionals for analysis. Other work includes the project of Professor Manish Tiwari (UCL Mechanical Engineering) on embedded haptic sensors for preventing diabetic foot ulcers, which inspired the interactive doormat. Professor Yvonne Rogers (UCL Computer Science) worked with Professor Drobnjak and focuses her own research on designing innovative technologies to enhance how families communicate, learn and play.
Tomorrow’s Home is created by The Liminal Space in collaboration with researchers from the UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering. The project is a recipient of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Ingenious Award. The exhibition opened on Saturday November 20 2021 and runs until Sunday 9 January 2022.
Visitors could combine a visit to this small special exhibition with a look at the museum’s permanent exhibition of home design through the ages. At this time of year, each period room is decorated for Christmas in the manner of its time, so visitors can take a trip through Christmases past.
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