A Sneak Peek Into the Home of Tomorrow

"It's very expensive, it's here today, it doesn't work great yet, but there's this whole intelligent materials revolution happening, and in 25 years, middle class and wealthy people will actually be able to buy windows that don't need curtains," Saffo said.

Traditional stoves will be phased out as well. In the kitchen, we'll use induction cooking for instant heating. This technology exists today and is being marketed by high-end appliance makers like Thermidoor. It uses electromagnetic forces to immediately heat a metal pan. Induction cooking can get water to boil in 5 seconds with a fraction of the energy we use today.

Your fridge will tell you when it's time to stock up. Radio Frequency ID tags will communicate with home networks to keep a current inventory of everything in the pantry or fridge. This technology can even alert you when the milk has passed its expiration date or when you need to buy more bread.

High-Tech Health at Home

In the home of the future an unlikely device may serve as a direct link between you and your doctor -- the toilet.

Technology will allow you to ID yourself at the toilet by running your fingerprint over a biometric scanner on the handle as you flush. The high-tech john then measures your glucose and cholesterol levels and records that information in your own personal health database, possibly alerting you or a caregiver if the levels are too high or low.

Since so many infections are spread in hospitals, there is a real push to bring personalized and sterile health technology into the home. Saffo thinks the advent of robotic and remote surgery will dramatically influence the use of the home as a health care center.

"We will have some capabilities that will cause people to look back at today and say, 'I can't believe they used to do things like that in the hospital,'" he said.

Less Energy, More Robots

The future home raises lots of questions. For one, how will all of its new gadgets and technologies be powered?

The current thinking is that solar panels and personal windmills will gradually make their way into homes to wean us off our dependence on expensive foreign oil. Appliances are also being engineered to consume much less energy and resources. When it comes to energy, the home of the future aims to be completely self-sufficient.

What about robots? Will they wait on us hand and foot?

My household is on its second Roomba vacuuming robot, and though I'm praying that someone invents a clothes-folding robot soon, I'm not holding my breath.

The technology that goes into robots is incredibly sophisticated, and most important, expensive. Perhaps the über-wealthy of the world will have an army of robots catering to their every need, but then they'd need an army of IT guys to manage the robots.

For the everyday Joe, a few basic robots will infiltrate the home to take on tasks like mowing the lawn or feeding the dog -- but don't expect Rosie the Robot to serve you dinner every night in 2031.

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