The smart home is about to take a step forward, with Carnegie Mellon researchers announcing that they have now developed a paint that can transform any home surface into a smart wall. By using a conductive paint, the researchers were able to embed electrodes along a wall’s surface in order both to serve as a touchpad and to detect electromagnetic signals from home appliances.
For just $20 per square meter, the paint can be used to allow home owners to perform actions such as controlling video games with gestures, or to send automatic alerts when a dryer turns off, for example. Smart walls can also be paired with wearables to track or interact with home owners.
The new smart wall paint isn’t commercially available yet, but other futuristic technologies are already making their way into gadget enthusiasts’ homes. Here’s a look at some other cutting-edge technology you’re likely to find in a true tech nerd’s home.
Home Theater Systems
It seems like everyone has 4K Ultra HD TVs now, but a true technophile needs a full home theater system. While today’s best home theater systems can cost you upwards of $12,000, you can now have a cutting-edge entertainment set-up for less than $1,000, while a top-notch system costs less than $2,000, says Wirecutter. You can get a 4K-ready 100-inch Silver Ticket screen for less than $200. While 4K projectors are still expensive, you can get a high-resolution 3-D home projector such as the BenQ HT2050 for less than $700. Add in a dedicated AV receiver and a 5.1 or 7.1 speaker system and you’re all set for a high-tech entertainment experience. Dolby provides an online guide to optimizing your speaker setup for an immersive entertainment experience.
When selecting a TV for a home entertainment center, a true nerd will want one that provides great support for gaming consoles such as Xbox and PS4. To provide a quality gaming experience, a TV needs 4K resolution, HDR range, brightness, low latency for input and support for top sound systems such as Dolby Atmos. TVs that fit this bill include the Samsung Q9F QLED, the LG OLED E7 and the Sony XBR-X930E/KD-XE93 series, concludes an exhaustive review by TechRadar.
But playing console games isn’t enough for the real gaming enthusiast. If you’re willing to spend a couple thousand dollars, you can have a home arcade machine such as the two-player multigame Tornado, which includes 2,000 classic and modern games. Bespoke Arcades even offers cabinets that let you play 50,000 retro video games available for download, or even play games from your Xbox or PlayStation. If you can’t afford a full arcade cabinet, no worries: mini-cabinets are available for less than $20.
High-Tech Surveillance Systems
With all this cool stuff in the house, a high-tech nerd needs a good security system. Like today’s best TVs, today’s best security camera systems employ HD and Ultra HD technology for superior resolution. This makes it easier to capture vital details that can be used to identify suspects, such as hair color, facial features and license plates. Some of today’s cutting-edge security camera systems even have color night vision.
Today’s high-tech security systems come in both wired and wireless varieties. For instance, today’s wire-free security cameras are designed so they can be installed anywhere without the need for wiring, making them ideal for outdoor surveillance or placement on detached structures such as garages. These cameras only record when they detect motion with a Passive Infrared sensor to save power and spare you tons of useless footage. They also come with high-capacity lithium batteries that can be easily recharged without the need to unmount any cameras.
No home of the future would be complete without a robot. Home robots were a highlight at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, which featured robots designed to help with housework, watch the kids and provide home security. Some home robots are shaped like pets to provide companionship and entertainment, while others are bipedal and can perform useful tasks.
For instance, the Aeolus robot has advanced sensory capability as well as a flexible arm, enabling it to recognize and pick up items. This allows the Aeolus to perform tasks such as bringing you a drink from the refrigerator or vacuuming. Industrial robots have traditionally been pricey, but as robots move into the home, prices are dropping. The manufacturers of Aeolus say it will cost less than the price of an overseas vacation for a family of four when it hits the market later this year.
Home theater systems, arcades, surveillance systems and robots are four hallmarks of today’s high-tech home. As these technologies become more mainstream and prices fall, expect every gadget enthusiast to have one in the near future.