BACKGROUND: What will homes be like in the high-tech future? The stuff of cutting-edge scientific research today is tomorrow's household technology, and consumer products could be available as soon as five years from now. For instance, kitchens will be outfitted with cameras and sensors to assist cooks in preparing meals. Framed electronic picture screens will keep household members informed of the latest news, weather, stock market and traffic reports. Wearable computers could be commonplace, and perhaps we will finally be able to replace those bulky remote controls with a watch that lets you change the channel with a flick of the wrist.
COOK'S COLLAGE: The Cook's Collage provides a visual summary of recent cooking activity along a kitchen countertop. Visual snapshots are arranged chronologically as a series of panels, similar to a comic strip, ending with the most recent action highlighted in yellow. The technology helps absent-minded cooks and people with memory problems keep track of where they are in the cooking process by 'remembering' past actions for them.
THE INFO CANVAS: The InfoCanvas is a hybrid ambient display: a flat-panel LCD screen that can be placed within a picture frame so the entire unit can be hung on the wall, or set like a picture on a desk. It serves as an 'electronic painting', or 'information art', in which the location and appearance of images in the scene changes to display relevant information.
GESTURE PENDANT: The Gesture Pendant allows ordinary household devices to be controlled with the wave of a hand, making it possible to replace remotes with simple hand gestures. The user wears a small pendant that contains a wireless camera. The user makes gestures in front of the pendant that control anything from a home theater system to lighting. The pendant system can also analyze the user's movement, looking for signs of loss of motor skill or tremors in the hands, and observe daily activities to determine if a person has been eating regularly and moving around.
The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.