In 1972, my parents made history by purchasing the very first microwave oven in our neighborhood. A few of the locals got together to observe the debut of the very first quick cooking machine available on the market. Everyone stood about waiting with bated breath as my father put one kernel of popcorn in the centre of the microwave and turned it on. Because it took the enormous machine a long time to transform a single kernel into a bite-sized piece of popcorn, they had time to socialize and enjoy a few drinks in the meanwhile. Many years later, as I was watching The Jetsons on television, I couldn’t help but wonder what my own future might be like. In the year 2019, my bed will be able to tell me how I slept more correctly than I will be able to tell it myself. But how did we get here?
THE ORIGIN OF KITCHEN AND LAUNDRY APPLIANCES
At the turn of the twentieth century, the concept of a washing machine or a vacuum cleaner was ground-breaking. Numerous household appliances that will permanently alter the way we maintain our properties were developed in the first two decades after their invention. Just stop for a moment and consider what a miracle the refrigerator was. It would mean the end of using ice boxes, which pose a persistent risk of food spoilage; as a result, millions of people’s finances and health would benefit.
John McCarthy is credited as being the one who first used the term “artificial intelligence,” or AI, in 1956. However, the concept of AI had been known for quite some time. Even though it was still a long way off from having an effect on the homes of the future, the idea that was being conceived at the time would pave the way for smart technology to be implemented everywhere.
THE WORLD’S FIRST HOME INTELLIGENT COMPUTER
The ECHO IV3, the world’s first home computer with smart capabilities, was developed in 1966. The monster that was the ECHO IV was constructed by an engineer by the name of Jim Sutherland, who at the time was employed at Westinghouse. The enormous home computer, which weighed more than 800 pounds and occupied four massive upright cabinets, was intended to serve as the “brain” of the typical American family house. Despite our best efforts, we were unable to get it to market.
ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY FOR THE OLDERLY
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, our televisions would constantly rerun the picture of an elderly woman with white hair and short gray hair who had collapsed inside her home. She yells into the gadget that is dangling around her neck, “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!” The appliance, which was programmed to summon for medical assistance at the touch of a button and provided older individuals across the country with additional freedom and security, was designed to do so. This marked the beginning of our exploration into GeronTechnology4, sometimes known as technology geared at elders. (Because of the increasing number of elderly baby boomers, the senior technology business is rapidly expanding at this time.)
SMART HOME TECHNOLOGY
In the latter part of the 1990s, the first consumer products featuring smart home technology were introduced. At the beginning of the 2000s, intelligent technology first began to appear in stores. Early consumer electronics were primarily focused on home automation and were ever more accessible to consumers financially. When it came to the topic of smart homes, everybody started talking about the Internet of Things (IoT), and IoT and connection became an increasingly essential factor for customers. The simplicity of being able to operate everything from an app generated a significant amount of demand as smartphone use became more widespread. 2010 marked the year that Nest introduced the world’s first WiFi thermostat to the market. These days, mobile applications can manage virtually everything, from toasters and coffee makers to mattresses and even beds themselves. Leak sensors can alert you when there is a leak in a pipe, and your app can turn off the water supply at that point. Your bed can now perform a lot of different things, like giving you feedback on how well you slept and modifying the level of hardness of your mattress so that you get a better night’s sleep and your phone can charge overnight without touching a plug with wireless charging QI..
WEIRD TECH FOR THE HOME
It would appear that there is no aspect of everyday living in the house that has not been affected by the proliferation of smart technology in recent years. And things are starting to take an odd turn. Smart technology is getting a little out of hand, as evidenced by forks that vibrate when you eat too quickly and robots that allow you to talk to and feed your pet while you are at work. Egg holders that are able to send a message to your phone when you are just about out of eggs are another example of this type of device. However, there is technology now available that is helping people live longer and healthier lives.
INTELLIGENT TECHNOLOGY AND HEALTH
When discussing the ever-increasing prevalence of smart technology, I simply cannot avoid bringing up the positive effects that this type of technology may have on our physical and mental well-being. There is a growing desire in the market for using technology to improve our health, and businesses that deal in technology are responding in a liberal manner. There is a wealth of technology at our disposal that can make our lives easier in a variety of ways, including but not limited to the following: smart beds help improve sleep; voice-controlled lighting assists those who may not see well; overhead speakers can remind elderly adults to take specific medications; alerts can be sent if an alcohol or medicine cabinet has been accessed; smart ovens automatically shut off; and many more. Despite the fact that we do not yet travel through the air in little bubble vehicles, we have made significant progress in the past century toward the world depicted in The Jetsons, which I saw as a youngster. Our houses, the safe havens that we carve out for ourselves, ought to represent the zenith of ease and luxury, provided, that is, that we can afford it. And as our technology becomes more advanced, we are given the chance to choose for ourselves the degree to which we choose to be linked. At the push of a button, we may have access to all of the luxuries that the contemporary world has to offer.