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Panasonic R&D 'House of the Future' To Open

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the sign-me-up-for-a-stint dept.

Technology 64

Tomo Hiratsuka writes "On January 4 Panasonic opens its new R&D showcase in Tokyo, featuring the usual raft of environmentally friendly products and a take on how to make gadgets more usable for the graying societies of the future. Examples are thin on the ground at the minute but the company's Universal Design (UD) concept could be just the kind of simplification everybody's grandparents have been whining for over the holidays when faced with the space-age remotes on new-fangled DVD players and the like." Details can be found via CBS, and an official release.

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but does it run windows? (-1, Offtopic)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#14371859)

Didn't Mr Gates try this? I'm confused????
The article says it will use intelligent design.... does that mean people will have to watch television through a burning bush hologram?

Re:but does it run windows? (2, Funny)

Ruff_ilb (769396) | more than 7 years ago | (#14372070)

I'm sure the windows run Windows, while the fridge has various apple products.

Re:but does it run windows? (1)

TerminalInsanity (720167) | more than 7 years ago | (#14372185)

what about a pet penguin and a daemon in the basement

Re:but does it run windows? (1)

hakr89 (719001) | more than 7 years ago | (#14372200)

Don't worry, that blue you are seeing is just the sky.

Re:but does it run windows? (1)

Ruff_ilb (769396) | more than 8 years ago | (#14373006)

I guess the sky really IS falling!

Stupid drivers...

Re:but does it run windows? (1)

MaXiMiUS (923393) | more than 8 years ago | (#14372652)

Don't forget the robo-housecat running Linux 2.6.15!

Re:but does it run windows? (1)

TadZimas (921646) | more than 8 years ago | (#14373684)

The last thing I need is getting a fatal error because the OS on my fridge had a fatal error and let the mayo get a little too warm. I don't trust windows to store my text-files, how do they expect me to entrust it with my foodstuffs?

Microsoft? (-1, Offtopic)

matr0x_x (919985) | more than 7 years ago | (#14371872)

They can't be behind this - it's not in Seattle, it's in Tokyo :P

seriously (2, Insightful)

mix_master_mike (540678) | more than 7 years ago | (#14371873)

"Dinner still has to be cooked. OK, it's very easy because this system automatically sends the cooking data to the network microwave oven. " Don't we see this shit every decade or so? That sounds like a commercial from the 70s for those new fangled robots... When I can afford this junk I'll be interested.

Re:seriously (4, Funny)

Radish03 (248960) | more than 7 years ago | (#14372016)

In other news, a new worm, targetting networked microwaves, was released today. Victims have reported many burnt dinners. Norton Internet Security: Microwave Edition has been released to combat this virus.

Re:seriously (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14372693)

in other other news, Apple Microwaves are immune to the virus.
the only downside is that you have to buy Apple brand food or void your warranty and possibly open yourself up to legal action for failing to comply with the EULA.

more news as it becomes available

Re:seriously (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 8 years ago | (#14372996)

And in yet more news, Sony has also built a House of the Future to showcase their products. It promises to be an exciting glimpse into their new developments, but sadly no-one can see what's in it, because we can't find the $sys$door.

Re:seriously (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14373069)

In a surprising twist, it turns out an unchecked buffer in the software actually makes the microwaves more vulnerable than those without the software...

Re:seriously (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 8 years ago | (#14372574)

Don't we see this shit every decade or so? That sounds like a commercial from the 70s for those new fangled robots... When I can afford this junk I'll be interested.

My dad once consulted for a client who wanted to bring such a system to market in the early 80s. They just had all their priorities so wrong. Kind of like a cross between an Asimov "boy and his robot dog" story and "Better Homes and Gardens" magazine. Crap like rotating, talking clothes hangers in wardrobes, and automated robotic laundry systems.

Some of it would have been fine for say, a uniform business or dry-cleaner that deals in quantity. Not such a great product for the domestic scale.

Instead of baby-proofing the house.. (2)

IAAP (937607) | more than 7 years ago | (#14371876)

they old people-proofed it.

The House is designed to accommodate diversity in age and abilities. The corridors are wide enough to allow wheelchair access and handrails are installed to aid walking and prevent accidents. Furniture and fixtures in the House have rounded edges and are set at a height the users can access comfortably from sitting in a chair.

Re:Instead of baby-proofing the house.. (1)

richdun (672214) | more than 7 years ago | (#14372020)

Every time I see the word "House" with the capital H I think of the U.S. House...and when reading this, chuckle each time.

Re:Instead of baby-proofing the house.. (3, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#14372051)

they old people-proofed it.

Aged care is enormously expensive, especially in Japan. You can save a lot of money with better automation.

I remember a researcher who was building automated systems to help elderly people. The user interface was a major problem until he hit on the idea of reusing the telephone. When the house systems need to tell the occupants comething (time to take your medication?) the phone rings and a voice delivers the information.

Re:Instead of baby-proofing the house.. (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#14372178)

Ring Ring. Ring Ring. "Hello?"

"Hello, I am your pusher robot. I am here to protect you from the terrible secret of space. Please go to the top of the stairs"

Re:Instead of baby-proofing the house.. (1)

Kijori (897770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14372794)

Best. Aim. Convo. Ever. (For those that don't know, this is a reference to somethingawful's AIM conversation: http://www.somethingawful.com/articles.php?a=287 [somethingawful.com] )

Re:Instead of baby-proofing the house.. (1)

von_blapp (767960) | more than 8 years ago | (#14373179)

I love that, the Japanese need robots*. While in America, we have mexicans that do it for us.

*(not to be confused with Crow T. Robot.)

In Soviet Russia... (1)

Ruff_ilb (769396) | more than 7 years ago | (#14372075)

House baby-proofs YOU!

Back to the future? (0)

ginotech (816751) | more than 7 years ago | (#14371877)

(CBS) The last thousand years have seen dramatic changes in the human home: flush toilets, electric lights and air-conditioning, among them.
Now, as the millennium approaches, we're looking ahead to what could be the ultimate dream home. From Japan, CBS News Correspondent Barry Petersen reports.

December 13, 1999 08:46:27?
Hurry! Get her up to 88!

In Other News... (2)

moore.dustin (942289) | more than 7 years ago | (#14371881)

Building Maintenance forcasted to skyrocket as technology invades houses!

So where in this house is the IT expert going to stay?

December 13, 1999 08:46:27 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14371902)

RTFA

Universal Design? (1)

Ruff_ilb (769396) | more than 7 years ago | (#14371903)

Sounds intriuging. I doubt that it'll be as big as the USB innovation, but if it even comes CLOSE it'll be amazing.

OTOH, it could just end up being an overpriced, dysfunctional way of just making things even more complicated.

We'll have to see...

USB not innovation, is SCSI with lower speeds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14372050)

Haha! USB simply was taking a SCSI-type system and then lowering the speed to make a smaller cord.

Effectively the USB ID of each device connected is just like an auto-assigned scsi chain.

Re:USB not innovation, is SCSI with lower speeds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14372941)

No, USB was a modernized variant of the Apple Desktop Bus, present in every Mac since ever. The only thing revolutionary about it was that PC makers finally realized they should actually use it instead of bitching about how weird Macs were.

GPX2 - Linux hand-held device... (0, Offtopic)

Animaether (411575) | more than 7 years ago | (#14371996)

well.. totally off-topic, but I followed an ad from that site to http://www.dynamism.com/ [dynamism.com] , and from there to http://www.dynamism.com/gp2x/ [dynamism.com]

Sounds like a potentially cute device.. already runs linux, the developers have a wiki, they embrace open source and tinkering.. hmm(!)

Hover Cars (3, Funny)

bad jerkface (930612) | more than 7 years ago | (#14372010)

This is all fine and good, but don't you think we should have hover cars by now? I want my hover car!

Re:Hover Cars (1)

DarthBart (640519) | more than 8 years ago | (#14372468)

The thought of hover cars scares the hell out of me. Your average Joe Sixpack has trouble controlling his vehicle in 2-dimensions. Adding a 3rd would just screw him allllll up.

Disturbing (2, Interesting)

Lead Butthead (321013) | more than 7 years ago | (#14372041)

I recall US based companies used to do this too (in the 50's?) Somewhere along the line they just stopped. In a way I think it's sad because to me it mean State side companies decided at some point dream of what future could hold isn't important anymore. Now it's always about near term profit, stock valuation, what will get the executives the fattest bonuses...

Re:Disturbing (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 7 years ago | (#14372059)

The question is, are elderly people acutally demanding these products? It's all well and good to invent all sorts of neat gadgets, but if people don't actually want/need the gadgets, what good have you really done? Time will tell whether or not this is a good idea or an expensive series of flops.

A lot of Japanese firms do this (2, Interesting)

ashitaka (27544) | more than 7 years ago | (#14372119)

I just got back from Tokyo where we visited Toyota's "Mega Web [megaweb.gr.jp] " building that is a cross betwen an auto dealership and a "world of tomorrow" exhibit. One entire section is devoted to the models and modifications of their cars that assist the handicapped and elderly.

They also had the outragous concept cars and transport devices such as the i-unit [toyota.co.jp] .

It's all been doooone.... before. (1)

GWSuperfan (939629) | more than 7 years ago | (#14372058)

(With apologies to The Barenaked Ladies)

It seems like every few years, some tech company does a "home of the future." AOL's version was the "Home of the 21st Century" http://www.h21c.seas.gwu.edu/ [gwu.edu] done in conjunction with The George Washington University http://www.gwu.edu/ [gwu.edu] at the Virginia Campus. The technologies on display are always either *very* nice and high-end, or kludged together from off-the-shelf stuff. I'll be interested to see what the cool-factor on this is, though.

Re:It's all been doooone.... before. (1)

MsGeek (162936) | more than 7 years ago | (#14372073)

And you didn't mention what came to my mind upon reading this story: the two classic Warner Bros. cartoon shorts with the "house of the future," the out of control droids, the record changer that throws records around, etc. etc.

Cue Raymond Scott's "Powerhouse"...

Re:It's all been doooone.... before. (1)

catprog (849688) | more than 8 years ago | (#14372896)

... and where they got the top level to come down and sqaush everything on the ground floor? or the automatict fire exquiester (I know thats not spelt correctly) that put out a cigar?

Freaking Sweet (1)

slashbob22 (918040) | more than 7 years ago | (#14372063)

...
we'll do your homework every night
it's really hard
that's why we got that stephen hawking
my god this house is freaking sweet

Family Guy [lyricallegend.co.uk]

Samsung's reaction (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14372071)

In other news, Samsung responded by opening 'Housewife of the Future' showcase, featuring the usual raft of environmentally friendly products and a take on how to make women more usable for the graying societies of the future. Japanese noted, that actually they were the first ones [bbc.co.uk] .

As the race to future tightens, there has been rumours about Samsung R&D on next generation wives cloned from female college students, but this far prototypes haven't succeed [bbc.co.uk] ...

Re:Samsung's reaction (1)

jeffy210 (214759) | more than 8 years ago | (#14375505)

Because we all know: Samsung means to come [yhchang.com] .

Also of interest: Japan's humanoid robots (4, Interesting)

pomo monster (873962) | more than 7 years ago | (#14372108)

As a Japanese (by ancestry) American (by birth), perhaps it's navel-gazing that piques my interest in this article from The Economist regarding [economist.com] the importance of cultural differences between Japan and the West in driving not only technological adoption, but innovation and development, too. Even if so, I bet plenty of people reading this Slashdot comment would find the article just as fascinating. The author's perspective, basically, is that people brought up in Japan's "culture of shame" are more comfortable interacting with machines than with people, while the Western "culture of guilt" (n.b. these terms are from elsewhere, and don't actually appear in the article), in which social fuckups aren't quite so stigmatized, doesn't need or even want technology to insulate individuals from one another. The first paragraph, which would probably be moderated flamebait in any other context:

HER name is MARIE, and her impressive set of skills comes in handy in a nursing home. MARIE can walk around under her own power. She can distinguish among similar-looking objects, such as different bottles of medicine, and has a delicate enough touch to work with frail patients. MARIE can interpret a range of facial expressions and gestures, and respond in ways that suggest compassion. Although her language skills are not ideal, she can recognise speech and respond clearly. Above all, she is inexpensive. Unfortunately for MARIE, however, she has one glaring trait that makes it hard for Japanese patients to accept her: she is a flesh-and-blood human being from the Philippines. If only she were a robot instead.

Like I say, an interesting take on things. If only the Economist Troll were to stop by to make it available to non-subscribers.

Re:Also of interest: Japan's humanoid robots (1)

Quirk (36086) | more than 7 years ago | (#14372297)

MARIE can interpret a range of facial expressions and gestures, and respond in ways that suggest compassion. Although her language skills are not ideal, she can recognise speech and respond clearly. Above all, she is inexpensive. Unfortunately for MARIE, however, she has one glaring trait that makes it hard for Japanese patients to accept her: she is a flesh-and-blood human being from the Philippines. If only she were a robot instead.

Your post is reasonable but it carries a message that has poped up on /. before. There seems to be a liberal guilt twist in perspective that suggests the Japanese in particular are insensitive to domestic help, especially help from the Philippines. I'm not Japanese but I've had considerable exposure to domestic help and my experience doesn't support an open, friendly relationship with domestic help just because they're working, and, possibly living in your home.

Hiring people to clean, maintain the yard, care for older family members is very difficult. Having people in your home shouldn't imply a need to make nice and stop off for a chat whenever you run into one another. I'm a night person and a morning grouch. I even avoid family members in the mornning. I want to get to the kitchen, fill a coffee mug, grab a banana or something and head back to my room to stare out the window until the coffee kicks in and I can check messages. Running into someone cleaning or whatever is a pain, if I can dismiss a goodmorning from my mom with a grunt why do I have to be polite and engaging to someone earning a buck. Yet the /. groupthink seems to suggest the Japanese are somehow insensitive because they don't smother domestic help with hugs and kisses.

Plus people hired as domestic help aren't often all that nice, I mean, they're as nice as anyone dealing with the person signing their cheque but that doesn't mean their nice people. At the age of 5 I had a nanny tell me my parents were going to sell me because I was a horrible child. My crime? I ate the last orange at the cottage and the fat bitch wanted it for herself. Fortunately my older sister heard, told my parents, and the nanny was gone in a flash.In another instance, just out of school, I had a Pilippino (sp?) shove a full binder of pictures in my face. Each picture was of a young, single Philipino girl who wanted to come to Canada as a "domestic". When I pointed out how twisted I thought it was for her to be propositioning me in the name of her friends she said they were her friends and she had to help them.

My point? Don't get all bent out of shape about how inhumane help is treated and how those who do have to deal with domestic help might often rather deal with a machine.

Dealing with domestic help is difficult and each person has to adjust to having nonfamily members in their home in their own way. If you're too nice you'll find yourself being asked to recommend unknown people to others. Then there's my ex wife who, when we hired our first cleaning lady, told me as I was heading out the door to "tidy up". Why? The cleaning lady's coming. The response, "well I don't want her to think we live like pigs".?????

Re:Also of interest: Japan's humanoid robots (1)

kamapuaa (555446) | more than 8 years ago | (#14373060)

Huh, you seem to be reading things into people's postings that aren't really there. The main points made in favor of domestics isn't the excellent social interaction and the chance to make new friends, but that they're cheaper and better than robots could ever hope to be - suggesting that Japan's robot-care program is an unnecessary expense driven by xenophobia. Maybe you could argue that domestic help is actually very problematic, but "liberal guilt"??? That's way too convoluted, clearly you're on some anti-Liberal kick and start reading discussions hoping to find some.

And for what it's worth, my 100-year-old Grand Auntie does have some domestic help, some ladies from Tonga. The idea wasn't to make friends, but they do chat. It helps her out, so why not?

AHA! (1)

peektwice (726616) | more than 7 years ago | (#14372190)

...house contents address environmental impact, through the company's mysterious "Factor X," and usability, via intelligent design of device controls...


Intelligent design of device controls? I knew it! All along the purveyors of intelligent design have been in cahoots with Matsushita over Japanese control of the US school system.

Re:AHA! (2, Funny)

ratnerstar (609443) | more than 7 years ago | (#14372267)

Many people don't know this, but ID theory actually proposes that all life on Earth was created by the Japanese.

Re:AHA! (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 8 years ago | (#14372609)

The funny thing about the Intelligent Design controvery, is that it has probably scuttled some company's marketing plan. I bet some marketing-droid out there had "Intel: Intelligent Design" ready to sell as the new slogan. but if they actually used it, it would provoke laughter and derision, as "intelligent design" is now associated in the public's mind with anything but intelligence.

Someday (2, Insightful)

ScottCooperDotNet (929575) | more than 7 years ago | (#14372194)

Someday my furnace, washer, dryer, water heater and security system will get an IP from my router. I'll be able to see off the router's homepage the status of my laundry, change the water heater's temp., etc. All this stuff could be in place by now, there's just no demand for it. Every one of these "homes of the future" events brings us a bit closer.

Re:Someday (1)

lordmatthias215 (919632) | more than 8 years ago | (#14372462)

It would be pretty cool to have all the appliances connected via, IP, but it would definetly have it's downfalls. Everytime something happens to confuse the router (which is quite frequent in my house, what with the power and cable modem going down for no reason), my oven would stop working!

Technology: further isolating old people? (3, Insightful)

OnanTheBarbarian (245959) | more than 7 years ago | (#14372213)

It's a tough call - do developments like this merely improve life for already isolated old people, or do they make it easier (particularly on the conscience) to dump old people in isolated apartments with less and less social contact?

I'm torn between these two arguments. It's not like everyone treated old people warmly and integrated them into normal social life and then technology came along and messed it all up.

Finally, I'm dubious about how 'eco' all of these clean redesigns are. Visiting California, I'm always amused to hear about people with their new 'eco-mega-mansions' - big houses built really far from anywhere, at great expense, with lots of 'energy saving' features. They may save energy in the steady state - but the massive expenditure of energy and capital required to build them is significant. In a part of the world that isn't really experiencing much population growth, gadget-packed new developments (almost guaranteed to be obsolete and difficult in 10 or 20 years) probably aren't a very eco-friendly way to go (even if their theoretical characteristics in the 'steady state' look good).

Re:Technology: further isolating old people? (1)

TadZimas (921646) | more than 8 years ago | (#14373664)

It's a tough call - do developments like this merely improve life for already isolated old people, or do they make it easier (particularly on the conscience) to dump old people in isolated apartments with less and less social contact?
Either way, it's good, right?

I liked the DRM features (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14372264)

HOUSE: ATTENTION DO NOT COPY THAT FLOPPY!
User: Floppy? What are you, stuck in 1986? This is a pizza you stupid computer.

(alarm sounds)
HOUSE: COPYRIGHT INFRINGMENT IN PROCESS!
STERILIZE AREA.

(gas seen escaping from windows - people screaming in background)

Yup, the future should be fun.

Oblig. Futurama Quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14372279)

Welcome to the world of TOMORROW!

You know what I would be happy just with? (1)

British (51765) | more than 7 years ago | (#14372352)

That every electronics manufacturer agrees to NEVER EVER make wall-wart power supplies ever again. Is it that much to include a standard plug a few inches long from the transformer? I don't want to have to buy bigger and bigger power strips to accomidate a flawed design. 3 years ago I bought an HP printer that had this implemented. Just a few months ago, I bought another HP printer that went back to the wall wart design.

And while we are at it, is it that hard to label the peripheral that goes to said wall-wart power supply? C'mon, make it easy for everyone.

Please. Otherwise, sell me a box of mini extension cords and labels.

Re:You know what I would be happy just with? (1)

HardCase (14757) | more than 8 years ago | (#14372826)

And while we are at it, is it that hard to label the peripheral that goes to said wall-wart power supply?

I don't seem to have any problem using a Sharpie and a strip of masking tape.

-h-

Re:You know what I would be happy just with? (1)

ScottCooperDotNet (929575) | more than 8 years ago | (#14372828)

I'd rather see a single AC to DC converter for everything but the computers in a household. As long as we can get away from the multitudes of DC plugs...

Umm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14372375)

The CBS article appears to be from 1999.

Yeah, yeah, yeah (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 8 years ago | (#14372411)

I've been seeing the house of the future my whole life. And you know what? The houses of today aren't that much different than houses built 100 years ago. Insulation is a little better, but it's marginal. Appliances are more efficient but not a lot different. If anything the lumber used a 100 years ago is a lot better...at least it's thicker. Air conditioning is better, windows are better but they don't look much different.

If you built the house of the future today with a high thermal mass material like concrete or compact earth, composting toilets, solar and wind turbine power, and grey water utilization...guess what? The bank won't finance it! Ha! It's the biggest inside joke in the real estate business.

If you built a sustainable house there won't be any comps for a house like that. No comps and that means the bank can't sell your paper to Fannie Mae, which means it won't end up at a discount aggregator like Washington Mutual or Wells Fargo. It would have to be a portfolio loan that the bank carries and there are damn few of those.

It can be done, but you either have to be rich enough to afford to finance it yourself, build it yourself with a builder's loan that the bank will end up carrying. And if you're going to sell it, you'd better be prepared to wait for a wealthy buyer or owner finance.

That's why we have row after row of surburban ticky-tacky houses that look exactly alike. With the same cheap, inefficient appliances, cracked foundations, uneven floors, sloppy drywall and doors that won't close right. Because everything in the real estate world is set up to work a certain way and if your house doesn't fit in that mold you have to put up the money. Building codes, home owners associations, comps, and financing are set up to do what they've always done and that's why houses still look pretty much like they did 100 years ago.

Actually Houses were built better 100 years ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14373022)

Houses today aren't really meant to last more than 50 years or so ... except for some high-rent districts with old well-built houses... houses are built to be remodeled or re-built evert 20 years or so now. Old houses were built based on the builder/owner's ability to afford good materials and craftmanship. Now almost everything is built of the cheapest materials and is marked up as high as possible. Most houses now are built by developers who then sell them to customers.

Smiles all around (1)

mypalmike (454265) | more than 8 years ago | (#14372527)

This is exciting news. Perhaps Panasonic's US R&D division employees can use their Christmas bonuses [cbs46.com] to go visit the new facility.

Ticky-Tacky (1)

HermanAB (661181) | more than 8 years ago | (#14372543)

Malvina Reynolds

1. Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky-tacky,
Little boxes, little boxes,
Little boxes, all the same.
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one
And they're all made out of ticky-tacky
And they all look just the same.

2. And the people in the houses
All go to the university,
And they all get put in boxes,
Little boxes, all the same.
And there's doctors and there's lawyers
And business executives,
And they're all made out of ticky-tacky
And they all look just the same.

3. And they all play on the golf-course,
And drink their Martini dry,
And they all have pretty children,
And the children go to school.
And the children go to summer camp
And then to the university,
And they all get put in boxes
And they all come out the same.

4. And the boys go into business,
And marry, and raise a family,
And they all get put in boxes,
Little boxes, all the same.
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one
And they're all made out of ticky-tacky
And they all look just the same.

And the little boxes are still there. (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 8 years ago | (#14372757)

The little boxes are still there [homeip.net] . Still green, pink, blue, and yellow. In Daly City, California. And they're now very expensive little boxes, because they are in a beautiful location, overlooking the ocean and just south of San Francisco.

Re:And the little boxes are still there. (1)

HermanAB (661181) | more than 8 years ago | (#14372874)

Proving that ticky-tacky is a long lasting building material?

Houses of the future (2, Insightful)

zooo (905313) | more than 8 years ago | (#14372628)

A large number of American houses of the future will look a lot like the trailor parks of today but with more expensive services. Urban living will probably be in high rise condos ala Hong Kong and a very small elite group will live in walled communities and or condos enjoying fabulous wealth and access to the latest technologies. They will pay dearly for security protection, clean water and reliable power. Mexico City would probably be a good indicator of where the average large American city is headed over the next twenty years.... provided the economy doesn't collapse first. As for the American Dream, it's still around, but it got outsourced to China!

A story about products adapted to older people (1)

renoX (11677) | more than 8 years ago | (#14375446)

Last Christmas, I was shopping for a cordless phone suited to my (old) parents, one was dedicated to older people, but it cost twice as much as other phones with less functionnality.
The only real improvement for older people was that it had less functionnality and had bigger buttons.

Somehow I wasn't ready to pay twice as much for bigger buttons.

My feeling is that the company doing it was way too greedy and treats older people as 'cash cow', barf.

I'll believe it when I see it... (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 8 years ago | (#14379806)

everybody's grandparents have been whining for over the holidays

I'll believe it when I see it. After watching the development of PCs, VCRs, etc. etc. etc. over the past twenty years I've come to the conclusion that tech companies are *incapable* of developing technology that's grandma-friendly. They fail to do granny-testing, and when grannies complain that they can't work X,Y,Z manufacturers blame the end-users. Not their products.

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