Windows that act as solar cells when they’re heated. Bladeless ceiling fans that destroy microorganisms. Air purification systems disguised as works of art. Science fiction? Nope! These and other futuristic home products are real, and could soon find their way into mainstream use, according to new research prepared by Springwise, a global intelligence and forecasting company.
The report was commissioned as a “deep-dive” into innovations that will soon shape how we live, and shows how design and technology help us maintain health, safety, comfort and well-being. Eighteen home products were highlighted in the report; here’s a glance at some of our favorites:
Heating and Cooling
Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory are developing windows that automatically change color when heated, and act as solar panels when warmed by sunlight. In low humidity, the glass is transparent and natural light flows inside. But as outside temperature rises, solar cells between the panes of glass rearrange themselves to block more light. The captured solar energy can then be used to offset air conditioning costs.
Solus+ by Koleda has a plug-in, infrared heater that uses 30% less energy than conventional home heaters. The Geneva-based company says its smooth, flat-panel units won’t lose efficiency over time and heats faster than other plug-in heaters. The heaters won’t burn out, require no maintenance and can be used anywhere in the house. Each unit can be adjusted individually and can be turned on or off remotely.
These home products can help reduce energy costs and offer the satisfaction that comes with knowing you’re doing something healthy for the planet.
Especially in the COVID-19 era, no list of innovative home products would be complete without air purifiers!
Sauberair’s FLAT air purifier automatically monitors indoor air quality for a healthier environment. Just 3½ inches thick, it can be hung on any wall because it doubles as a piece of decor. This ultra-thin purifier is capable of cleaning up to a 204-square-foot room – about 14 by 15 feet – within 12 minutes. The machine is controlled through an app and built-in smart sensors. The app alerts the user when the filter needs to be replaced.
Armstrong World Industries, in partnership with Medical Illumination International, is building a portfolio of ceiling purification systems that, when combined, offer healthcare-quality cleaning and disinfecting. In one application, an ultraviolet air cleaner sits just behind the ceiling panels, cleaning the air up to four times an hour, removing 97% infectious air particles in the first cycle. The system can be used in new spaces or for retrofitting existing rooms.
Finally, researchers at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have developed a bladeless ceiling fan that sucks cool air from below and diverts heat and moisture from anywhere in the room. It’s “UFO-like shape” contains a vortex that spins air outward, creating a curtain of air that falls and cools the room. The fan also has an LED lamp that provides different temperatures of white light, and a UV light that helps kill bacteria and viruses. The fan runs on about half the electricity used by a conventional fan, and is said to be 99% effective in disinfecting for COVID-19.
From Sweden’s Umea Institute of Design, in collaboration with Electrolux, comes a wall shelf that sanitizes hands, sleeves, and even smart phones and tablets. Placed at the front door, it prevents germs from entering the house by using a UV light to break down the DNA of bacteria and viruses. The wall-mounted unit has three light-enabled shelves on which you can place your items, while the lower shelf has a sanitizer where you can clean your hands while your other items are being disinfected. And just for fun, there’s a mirror that gives temperature and weather updates.
Peace of Mind
Not all futuristic home products focus on safety; some are even trying to ease the stress of the unknown, and catch problems before they even start.
An early health-warning system called Dozee captures such signals as changes in breathing, sleeping patterns and heart rates so you can access a diagnosis or checkup before your physical conditions deteriorate. The contactless system uses a slim sensor sheet that fits under your mattress and connects to the Internet. Dozee tracks micro-variations produced by the body and uses artificial intelligence to build a comprehensive picture of your baseline statistics and overall health profile. The sensor tracks viruses and sleep apnea and monitors such diseases as hypertension with 98% accuracy.
Soon, you may know when your appliances are about to breakdown before they actually do. Augury’s AI-driven predictive maintenance platform uses sensors, analyses and algorithms to predict a machine’s health. After learning baseline readings and noise patters from motors, compressors and pumps, the program gradually begins to recognize abnormal sounds and faulty movements prior to a complete breakdown.
Smart lighting company TUO has created light bulbs that help people fall asleep and wake up. The bulbs activate the eye’s natural circadian color system. Only recently discovered, the color system is found to be 20 times more effective than other circadian lights at normal lighting levels. When connected to the Internet, the bulbs emit sleep and wake wavelengths of light. Users can customize the bulbs to their own circadian schedules so they act as personal body clocks. When they’re not connected, they act as regular light bulbs.
More Resources from Homes.com
If home technology has you enthralled, make sure you come back to visit the Homes.com blog. From survey insights to product news, we’ll continue to share all the latest innovations in futuristic home products.