Sci-Fi Technology You Can Add to Your Smart Home Today

In 1865, Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon was well received by audiences. At the time, it was fanciful and utterly impossible. One hundred four years later, man first set foot on the moon. What was once science fiction had become a reality. From this and the other events of the Space Age stemmed more fanciful ideas for futuristic technology. People incorporated these into the science fiction of that day and the decades that followed. In some cases, technology didn’t develop as quickly as the hopeful creators had predicted (Back to the Future fans are still wondering where those 2015 hoverboards are). In other cases, technologies found in sci-fi set centuries from now exist in some form today, such as a few of those found in the 23rd and 24th centuries in Star Trek. We might not have the starships and warp technology needed to travel the final frontier easily. We do have versions of  some Starfleet technologies in our current frontier, though. Here is some sci-fi technology you can add to your smart home today.

“Computer, Increase Ambient Temperature by Two Degrees Centigrade.”

When Star Trek first came out, controlling a computer with a mouse was a new technology. Meanwhile, Star Trek and other stories introduced the sci-fi technology of a computer that could respond to voice commands. The main computer was also integrated with the other systems. Crewmembers could tell the computer to adjust the temperature, turn off the lights, play music, and other things in addition to operating the starship.

Today, we have voice command computers. However, instead of referring to them as “computer,” we call them “Alexa,” “Google,” and “Siri.” A smart speaker with a virtual assistant isn’t entirely the same as a ship-wide computer, but if you set it up correctly, you can get close. Start by choosing a smart speaker to serve as your smart home hub. You could even put smart speakers in multiple rooms for a more immersive experience. Once you have your speaker(s), connect your smart thermostat, smart lights, smart locks, home security system, and other technology. With an integrated smart home system, you can have all the control of a Starfleet captain over your home without leaving the atmosphere.

“Tea, Earl Grey, Hot”

The idea of a replicator is fascinating. You can go up to a terminal and ask it for a cup of tea, and it will make one for you. No need to bring your own cup. The replicator will make that, too. We’re still a ways off from this, but one could argue that we’ve entered the early stages of this sci-fi technology. We can take an intangible computer file and use it to create a tangible object with a 3D printer. Even though you can’t replicate a cup of tea, you can replicate a cup.

As 3D printing technology has been progressing, it has become more affordable and more accessible. There are easy-to-use home 3D printers available. Many libraries offer 3D printing services for patrons who want to utilize this new technology but don’t have their own 3D printer. For those without experience in 3D design, premade files for printable objects are available, often at no charge, through websites like Thingiverse.

“Computer, Begin Program”

In Star Trek, a holodeck is a room that can become a 3D simulation of anything. The simulation isn’t bound by the room’s dimensions since the simulation moves with the user. It can be the ultimate training program or the most immersive video game in the galaxy.

Nowadays, we are starting to see more of this level of immersion through virtual reality technology. VR uses stereoscopic displays to create the illusion that the user is in the VR world rather than looking at it. VR treadmills make it possible to move around in the VR world as though you are really there. Additional physical props can further enhance the experience. Though there are still kinks developers are working out and affordability issues, VR is on its way to becoming the holodeck of reality. Between these and other developing technologies, we are well on our way to more of yesterday’s science fiction becoming today’s reality.

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