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What Would Be Your Ideal Futuristic Home?

Cliff posted more than 8 years ago | from the make-george-green-with-envy dept.

546

deman1985 asks: "As the owner of a small commercial and home integration company, I'm exposed to a wide variety of customers with differing tastes and needs. I'll get requests for anything from the ordinary audio distribution systems and full home theater systems, to downright bizarre requests like having bubble baths run automatically, when they walk in the door. However, the vast majority of customers I encounter are not technologically inclined and are more interested in simplicity rather than impressiveness. What would your ideal integrated home look like? What's the most unique feature you would like to see? If you had access to an unlimited budget, what would you spend money on to make your home stand out? Whole-house audio? Hidden video screens? Automatic locks? Do most people view home integration strictly as a toy for entertainment, or is the technology ready for prime time?"

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Sustainability (5, Insightful)

under_score (65824) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892370)

I love technology. My family has several laptops, desktops and we run a few servers as well. We have gadgets. But the thing about it all that bothers me, is that it is all dependent on the precarious infrastructure for power and telecom. I would love to have solar and wind power backup. I'd love to have redundant methods of communication, even going back to low-tech/old-tech radio systems. I'd also like to have local caches of reference materials such as wikipedia, about.com, CIA world factbook, etc. I'm not a survivalist freak, but I do find it painful when the power goes out for a few days at a time! It'd be nice to have some basic backups!

Re:Sustainability (-1, Troll)

kevin_conaway (585204) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892489)

Why wikipedia? It is a BAD source for information, especially considering that you would use it as a "reference" material in case something catastrophic happened.

In the event of something catastrophic, would you really want to be relying on information from wikipedia to reconstruct world history? Or anything?

Re:Sustainability (5, Insightful)

Rei (128717) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892632)

It is a BAD source of information

Oh really? [nature.com] . Now, if you want a bad [uncyclopedia.org] source [uncyclopedia.org] of [uncyclopedia.org] information [uncyclopedia.org] ...

Here's the ironic part (1)

glib909 (623480) | more than 8 years ago | (#14893082)

From wikipedia's Slashdot article [wikipedia.org]

* Article summaries with typos, mis-leading titles, or errors. * The presence of articles that many consider to be thinly veiled advertisements. These articles usually receive a large number of trolling comments, including insults towards the editors. * The posting of articles which report trivial research, long established facts, popular gossip, or blatant pseudo-science. Experts on the topic often criticize such stories with lengthy, insightful tirades.

Re:Sustainability (3, Interesting)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892498)

But the thing about it all that bothers me, is that it is all dependent on the precarious infrastructure for power and telecom. I would love to have solar and wind power backup.

Get yerself an RTGs [wikipedia.org] for your back up power needs.

Re:Sustainability (1)

Alex P Keaton in da (882660) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892980)

If you want to know about how to live "off the grid" I will gladly answer any questions you have. My grandfather left me a house on Tuckernuck island, right next to Nantucket. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nantucket,_Massachuse tts [wikipedia.org]
There are no utilities whatsoever there. I have all propane appliances there (fridge etc) and some solar. It is an interesting way to live... although I only get out there a couple weeks a year. Sometimes I think that I would like to make it my permanent address, but I think I would go crazy...
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&sll=37.0625, -95.677068&sspn=36.315864,117.949219&q=Nantucket+I sland&t=k&ll=41.300056,-70.257311&spn=0.014476,0.0 29268&t=k [google.com]

Wrong way for me. (5, Insightful)

AnonymousPrick (956548) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892374)

I'd want a small home(1,500 - 2,000 sq.ft.) on plenty of land (4+ acres) with trees. The only electronics I'd want is something that blocks anything wireless so I can have some peace and quiet for once. Also, I'd have an excuse for why I wasn't pestered by any phone calls...I mean, why I didn't get someone's call.

Product name... (3, Informative)

AnonymousPrick (956548) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892452)

Luddite HomesTM

Oooo, I think I'm on to something here!

There was this builder on NPR a year ago. He builds house in Athens, GA. He figured out that if he left as many trees as he could on a property, he could sell the house for a premium. I just thought - "Uh, Duh!" Most GA builders just clear cut everything and plant weeds (i.e.a lawn).

Re:Product name... (4, Insightful)

SeeMyNuts! (955740) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892816)


It isn't a matter of being a Luddite. Most people can't control who their neighbors are, which is one reason why living in the subburbs is so darn stressful. The only defense against neighbors in high population density areas is to have tons of money, to pay the association people to enforce restrictions, and to put up big fences.

Outside cities, the other defense is a lot of land, and lots of shrubbery in the woods to block sound and line of sight to roadways.

Another defense is a lot of insulation in the walls and ceiling to block sound, which is an added bonus on top of energy efficiency. Unfortunately, a lot of the cookie-cutter 1000-unit neighborhoods were built quickly and cheaply, meaning often inadequate insulation (one house I lived in wasn't even up to code, before I fixed that).

Re:Product name... (0)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892851)

He must build in a different Athens, GA. The Ahtens, GA I lived in for 5 years and have been working in for 4 years (commuting from 30 minutes north) doesn't have any new construction homes I've seen on lots that haven't been almost completely cleared. The reason behind this is that grass lawns sell and trees don't. Sure there are folks who prefer a heavily wooded lawn (maybe a few more folks in college town Athens than elsewhere in the area), but they are a minority. This builder on NPR might cater to that minority and in Athens that might give him a good market niche but there aren't near as many people concerned about the environment or keeping trees on their lawn to make such a plan feasible elsewhere in the area.

Re:Product name... (1)

zardo (829127) | more than 8 years ago | (#14893138)

I want a house that goes underground quite a ways, with tunnels and what not, a tunnel that go to an underground river, another tunnel that just goes to another small workshop on the property, a shaft that goes 100 feet down, where I hide my gold!

Re:Wrong way for me. (5, Interesting)

Rei (128717) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892578)

Tech != electronics (at least not exclusively). I want pneumatic tubes to deliver items across the house, powered lifts, etc. ;)

I wouldn't mind a bit of green tech, either - houses designed with big south facing windows and large eaves to let in lots of sunlight in the winter but little in the summer, perhaps solar water heating, perhaps a heat pump, perhaps a wind turbine if in a windy area, etc. For really esoteric, on a big house you could go with a solar thermal evaporative cooler/heater: noiseless, takes no power, and has no moving parts except for the fan; heating and cooling are done by the same device.

As a gardener, an automated greenhouse would be neat (maintains temperature with opening and closing of flaps, and an internal heater if needed).

Ditto! (1)

AnonymousPrick (956548) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892691)

I wouldn't mind a bit of green tech, either - houses designed with big south facing windows and large eaves to let in lots of sunlight in the winter but little in the summer, perhaps solar water heating, perhaps a heat pump, perhaps a wind turbine if in a windy area, etc. For really esoteric, on a big house you could go with a solar thermal evaporative cooler/heater: noiseless, takes no power, and has no moving parts except for the fan; heating and cooling are done by the same device.

I'm with you! That's exactly what I'm talking about.

The only thing that has me a little hesitant about solar is that you have to cut down enough trees so that enough sunlight can hit the panels on your roof. I like having the trees close to the house to shade the sun (especially during Summer) to help keep the house cool. There are trees that have plenty of leaves during the Summer to shade the house and they defoliate for the Winter letting the Sun in for the heat. But, what's the effect on the panels? Or is it a moot point?

Re:Wrong way for me. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14892829)

I would like a super high powered Bidet, not just to knock loose the poo from pooing, but also to give me a colonic. Colonics give me erections, so I can't get them from a professional. I would love to get colonics at home.
99 assholes whith stupid sigs about deulists on the wall... 99 assholes .../

Re:Wrong way for me. (4, Insightful)

Carik (205890) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892692)

1,500 - 2,000 square feet is NOT a small home. 750 - 1,100 square feet is a small home. My girlfiend and I are currently living in a condo that's nominally about 950 square feet, but a lot of that is taken up by stairs, walls, and poor planning. Call it maybe 800 square feet of usable living area, total. The only thing we really need more space for is long-term storage; winter storage for the bicycles, christmas ornaments, things like that. So... if you have a family, yes, you'll need at least 1,500 square feet. But if you don't have kids, why get such a big house? I'm looking at new places at the moment, and I'm finding that 1,200 or so is as much space as I need, as long as it has a basement or a barn for storing all the Stuff I'm not using at the moment.

Re:Wrong way for me. (1)

AnonymousPrick (956548) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892739)

1,500 - 2,000 square feet is NOT a small home.

My sense of scale has been corrupted by the McMansions. Then again, it's nice to have a guest room for visitors considering that I have all of that forest, a fish pond, cool breazes, and no noise! :)

Re:Wrong way for me. (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14893076)

"Then again, it's nice to have a guest room for visitors considering that I have all of that forest, a fish pond, cool breazes, and no noise! :)"

If you have a lot of property, you may want to consider guest cabin(s) instead of a guest room. Works great for the kids' sleepovers, as an ancillary office, or whenever you need to get away from the house. Very cheap to put up, and if its not fully enlcosed, you typically don't need to meet housing codes. Sucks in the winter, though.

Re:Wrong way for me. (1)

Larry Lightbulb (781175) | more than 8 years ago | (#14893144)

I'd want a small home(1,500 - 2,000 sq.ft.) In many places that's a large home.

All... (1)

fredklein (532096) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892378)

of the above. :-)

man, talk about budget-breakers! (2, Insightful)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892606)

First of all, we'll need an architect, we'll have to resurrect John Lautner. [thomasloof.com]

Re:man, talk about budget-breakers! (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892700)

And closets, lots and lots of closets.
I really can't grok how real people can achieve the zen-like detachment from personal possessions that the residents of Architectural Review -land obviously enjoy.

Re:man, talk about budget-breakers! (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892820)

Bah, lets bring back Le Corbusier [uncyclopedia.org] . :)

Re:All of the above (TM) (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892706)



I'm sorry, that trademark was registered by me in 1980. please desist from using it, or under DRM, I'll have to take possession of your dream home and have you pay for my lawyer to replace it with a substandard lot on a garbage dump.

DUH! (5, Funny)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892383)

What happens when you ask a bunch of nerds and engineers to collaborate on a home design? You get the DUH: Dilbert Ultimate House [unitedmedia.com] (Professional Edition).

Re:DUH! (2, Insightful)

SoCalDissident (953017) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892541)

This is modded as Funny, but the truth is the DUH actually has some pretty cool features, a few of which I plan on retrofitting to my place and incporporating if/when I get around to building a house.

Re:DUH! (1)

LehiNephi (695428) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892579)

You can also find the online version, with virtual tours and everything right here. [dilbert.com]

Simplicity (4, Insightful)

s0l3d4d (932623) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892392)

Ideal home integration?
Simplicity. Japanese style furniture, and few and selected furniture, and the stereos, hifi, etc would be simplistic as well. No TV - possibly a projector. Ideally Bose but any small and good sounding speakers, integrated with iPod. Integration with Airport Express should be easy - so can control the musics of all the rooms of the house by the computers (a few in different rooms or where needed).
Actually, for TV needs now the computers do fine - mostly viewing movies anyway, and some cartoons with eyeTV.
Lots of small lights in ceiling and on walls to get enough light on winter, and enough analog candles for the mood.
And simple materials to keep it all timeless - such as white walls, dark wood, some stone, some metal, and selected details in bright colors.
And the simplicity factor will make it more simple than now - there are 16 iPods in our house now ... probably could do with a bit less.

Re:Simplicity (1)

Kirmeo (909604) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892672)

I think just a few networked in-wall (or wall mounted) computers would do the trick for me. Maybe add some video phone desktop extensions too. I don't know how many times I've been upstairs in my office and my wife yelled up to me from some other room downstairs, only to get frustrated that she had to come to the stairs for me to hear her. It would be nice if she could just page me on the intercom ("com" being for computer, not just communication). "Attention all house occupants, please come to the dinning room to commence the dining hour."

Re:Simplicity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14892868)

Ideally Bose? No highs, no lows, it's Bose? Ipod? Are you functionally deaf?

Missing option: (0, Offtopic)

MattyDK23 (819057) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892403)

Breasts.

Duh (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892408)

Xanadu of course. No, not that Xanadu. [wikipedia.org] THIS [wikipedia.org] Xanadu.

Just imagine! A home with a built in Apple II computer, where you can watch Xanadu in your kitchen on a 10" built-in screen! What could be better? [wikipedia.org]

Xanadu, your neon lights will shine...

Re:Duh (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892513)

So, is the rollerskating rink contained in a separate building, or is it in the basement or something?

Re:Duh (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892594)

I kind of screwed up the formatting on that one. The first link points to Bill Gates' dream home, the second link points to the Xanadu tourist attractions that were in Wisconsin Dells and Florida, and the third link is a joke about watching Xanadu the movie inside of Xanadu, the ancient "house of the future". :-)

Florida Xanadu is toast (1)

teasea (11940) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892966)

It's not even rubble anymore. It took them a day to bulldoze it, and another two to cart the trash (i.e. the entire house). If you've ever seen one of these sad, fibreglass visions of the future, you will thank the powers that be they never caught on. I think the guy made a few bucks touting them to the tourists as something to see but, couldn't have been much.

pr0n (0)

cwebb1977 (650175) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892410)

I want bigscreen porn on every wall!

Infrastructure would please me... (5, Interesting)

debest (471937) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892412)

I wouldn't want a complete turn-key solution, I'd want to have the infrastructure in place so that I could tinker as I chose.

My new house would have a wiring closet/server room that would be the electronic equivalent of the furnace/AC/water heater room. There would be racks and/or cabinets for various computers and A/V equipment. The room would be properly ventilated. The house would be wired to hell and back before walls went up.

Then leave me to my devices. I'll handle the rest!

Re:Infrastructure would please me... (3, Funny)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892617)

And you'd NEVER have everything working right, as you'd be constantly taking it apart and redesigning it. Your a gentoo user arn't you?

Re:Infrastructure would please me... (3, Funny)

debest (471937) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892774)

you'd NEVER have everything working right, as you'd be constantly taking it apart and redesigning it

Very probably correct!

Your a gentoo user arn't you?

Absolutely correct! My answer isn't the one the OP wanted, but it my answer to the question he asked. I'm a tinkerer, and that's the way I like it!

Re:Infrastructure would please me... (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892881)

Don't take it as an insult, mearly an observation. I'm definatly a tickerer too, and am in awe of people who can designed total turnkey solutions with good UI... But thats another story.

One of those discarded Missile Bases (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14892429)

I want one of those bases [missilebases.com] to belong to me.

Keep it simple... (4, Interesting)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892436)

A touch screen near the door that allowed me to walk in, and pick from a simple list of pre-programmed profiles for lights, music, and TV.

Dream Suite (1)

PipeIsArt (800028) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892450)

As a Computer science Major, I would love a home with an inegrated network for all computers, home entertainment systems (including a projection screen), alarm and lock controls, clock alarms in every room, etc. I would love to be able to control my thermostat from any room in the house, while restricting access to my kids or whoever should not be messing with such controls. Of course, it has been a childhood dream of mine to own at least one secret passage, so I would find a place for one somewhere. But overall, the house must be hospitable. I would want people over lal the time to watch movies, hang out, do business, spiritual guidance, or whatever else. So I would need at least a couple of large lobby-like rooms, maybe a lot of basement space, etc. I would also want an electronically indexed library of books.

You can't take the sky from me... (5, Funny)

Terminal Saint (668751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892540)

I'd like my home to be a 1:1 scale mock-up of a Firefly class transport. But then I'm a nerd...

Re:You can't take the sky from me... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892740)

Would that be complete with shuttle occupants, sir?

Re:You can't take the sky from me... (1)

Terminal Saint (668751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892937)

Hadn't considered that, though now that you mention it...

Re:You can't take the sky from me... (4, Funny)

Mr.Coffee (168480) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892951)

no, but definitely engine mechanics...
definitely.

Re:You can't take the sky from me... (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892941)

And since it didn't have bathing facilities, I believe you're such a nerd.

Re:You can't take the sky from me... (1)

Terminal Saint (668751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14893020)

Actually it did, just off the common area. In Objects in Space we see Book coming out of the room with a towel just before being overcome by Early, so it seems reasonable to assume said room contains a shower. Furthermore the Serenity RPG sourcebook diagram of Serenity shows a shower in the room in question.

SImple (3, Insightful)

bobs666 (146801) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892568)

A 40 Foot (12m) catamaran sail boat.

That way should I not like my neighborhood, I can move to a new one.

That and live like the turtles, taking my house with me as I visit places across the sea.

Re:SImple (2, Funny)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 8 years ago | (#14893018)

That and live like the turtles, taking my house with me as I visit places across the sea.

I lived like that for a few years, long ago. I went from place to place by sea, taking my home with me. But I wasn't on a catamaran, I was on a warship.

A "simplicity" room (2, Interesting)

jbarr (2233) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892574)

No matter what the house of the future would be like, it will need to have at least one room that is devoid of tehnology and gadgets (things like lighting and HVAC aside.) Specifically, no computers, Internet, TV, radio, etc.) It would be a room where you can sit and think, read, ponder, whatever, without the distractions and temptations of technology. A place where one could "focus"--reminding us we shouldn't completely rely on technology for everything. While I certainly love Techmology, there are times when I just have to get away from it for sanity sake.

-Jim
http://jimstips.com/ [jimstips.com]
http://gmailtips.com/ [gmailtips.com]

Re:A "simplicity" room (4, Interesting)

stevey (64018) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892806)

My plan when I went looking for the place I eventually bought was to make sure the bedroom was empty. Have a rectangular room a big wooden four-pster bed in it and nothing else.

Real life interfered a lot, so I have to have clothes, books, and even a computer desk in there at the moment - but one day I will own a house which has a room which is literally just a bed-room.

Perfect for reading/cuddling/relaxing in. With nothing to distract or tidy.

Dig it (1)

eric76 (679787) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892583)

What would be cool would be a home dug out of the side of a canyon.

Have a winding passage through the rock between every room.

Instead of wallpaper or monotonous single color walls, have a painted mural in every room from floor to ceiling.

Maybe a small underground stream flowing through the living room.

Two things (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892587)

I want CD quality audio in every room, all served off a central Terabyte server (no individual CDs). RF remote should work from anywhere in house and control audio, video, lighting, and climate control. I also want the system to keep track of where everybody is in the house, and have their audio preferences follow them from room to room. Extra credit for turning on/off the lights and adjusting the zonal climate control as I enter/leave a room. Ideally, household automation should pay for itself in a few years through energy savings.

Oh, and one more thing -- the audio should automatically mute itself when the phone goes off hook, and unmute when the phone is hung up.

Re:Two things (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 8 years ago | (#14893051)

Oh, and one more thing -- the audio should automatically mute itself when the phone goes off hook, and unmute when the phone is hung up.

It would be better if it went on hold so you didn't miss anything. Aside from that, nice idea.

My requests (4, Interesting)

egomaniac (105476) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892588)

Considering that the first things I did when I moved into my house were to build a movie theater in the attic and wire the whole house for audio, video, and Internet, I'm definitely in your target market ;-).

Here are the things I would love to have but am too lazy to have actually gotten around to:

The ability to wirelessly stream TV from any of my DVRs to any of my laptops.

Ringing the doorbell should automatically pause any television, movies, or music playing and bring up the front (or side) door-cam

Similarly, video and audio should pause when the phone rings.

Be able to use any device in my house as the source for my whole-house audio-video system (currently only the devices in my living room system can function as sources).

I want a security system that allows me to check the status of my house (hopefully including seeing pictures) from an internet connection. I travel a lot, and it would make me feel better to be able to see that everything is okay.

And some general comments:

After playing around with a bunch of universal remotes, I can categorically state that the Home Theater Master MX-850 (Aeros) is my favorite. I have played with a bunch of high-end touchscreens like Crestrons, and actually have a HTM MX-3000 for my theater, but I find that the "wow!" factor is offset by the day-to-day reality that hard-buttoned remotes are easier to live with.

I don't give a rats' ass about having video screens hidden. I paid a lot of money for my plasma screens, and I'm perfectly okay with having people able to see them. However, while I don't want to hide them, I am perfectly okay with disguising them. I would love to have my main plasma framed so that it looked like a painting on the wall, and I think the ones that look like mirrors when they are off are awesome as well.

I do like to have video in unusual places. I have a high-def TV mounted over the master bathtub which can receive audio and video from the whole-house network. We don't use it very often, but it's great for escaping from reality for a little while. Similarly, I would like to eventually have a weatherproof TV mounted next to my hot tub.

I guess basically the bottom line is that I want to be able to get my video and audio from any device to any device easily. I am unfortunately very busy, and really don't have a lot of time to watch TV or movies -- so being able to fire up a recorded copy "The Simpsons" on my laptop (without the bother of downloading a torrent or ripping a DVD) would make it easier for me to enjoy those few minutes I do have.

Now, that said, I have no intention of actually work with a company like yours. I mean no offense, but in my experience, installation companies like to choose absolutely ridiculously expensive equipment and spend far too much time trying to maximize their profits. The simple fact is that in many cases white paint (cost: $20) provides a projection surface superior to even the much-vaunted Stewart Firehawk (cost: $thousands), and yet I don't think there is a theater company in the world that would actually admit that.

My screen (160" with an Infocus 7205) is white paint. Sherwin Williams Ultrapaint, to be precise. It looks like a real screen, because I have the projection surface framed off with duvetyne tape and the rest of the wall painted dark blue, and I have had very knowledgeable people comment that it's the best image they have ever seen. And it's just white paint. Similarly, my DVD player cost me $50. The output is completely and utterly indistinguishable from a $1500 Denon (and yes, we have run blind tests -- nobody could tell the difference). So I'm very jaded about the home theater industry in general.

Re:My requests (4, Informative)

deman1985 (684265) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892792)

I'm hurt!
Now, that said, I have no intention of actually work with a company like yours. I mean no offense, but in my experience, installation companies like to choose absolutely ridiculously expensive equipment and spend far too much time trying to maximize their profits
Indeed, it is an image that is unfortunately associated with my company's industry all to often. Installers have come to recognize that the easiest way to make a quick buck is to go after the customers with deep pockets who want to show off. Someone who wants to show off doesn't want to have the same DVD player, projector or audio system as the average joe, even if it is professionally installed. As a result, most installers don't cater to projects under $5k, and shudder at the thought of using equipment from the likes of Sony.

While I can't deny being guilty of trying to push the higher end equipment myself, I've made sure to set my company up to offer people a wide range of options and I don't set any minimum cut off. If someone already has all the equipment they want and just want their wiring redone, I'm more than happy to take on the project. That doesn't mean I don't prefer and bend over backwards more for customers who want the whole package, though. And, in some applications, there just aren't that many low-cost options for off-the-shelf automation equipment that works reliably; that's why I hope to extend my company into manufacturing eventually.

Re:My requests (3, Informative)

egomaniac (105476) | more than 8 years ago | (#14893055)

For me, it's not about the money per se but what I actually get for it. My theater cost me about $70,000, which certainly isn't super-high-end, but I expect it was enough to have gotten most installers' ears to perk up.

But because I did it myself and carefully selected components with overall value in mind, I have a theater which (as far as I'm concerned) blows away a lot of $250,000 theaters. Not all of them, certainly, but a lot of them. I used a cheap-ass DVD player because that's all you need, a pretty good but not stellar projector because I expected to throw it away in a few years when better models come out, and absolutely amazing speakers because they are a mature technology which can already reproduce sounds better than my hearing can distinguish them and I mean to hang on to them for life. And no screen at all, because with a nice flat wall, a completely light-controlled room, and a bright projector, a screen provides literally no advantage (it's plenty bright with a gain of 1.0, so increasing gain would merely serve to produce hotspotting).

Again, truly no offense meant by my earlier comment.

It always amazes me... (1)

C10H14N2 (640033) | more than 8 years ago | (#14893031)

The integrated house always comes down to "lots of televisions, audio and remote controls."

I always wonder why people don't shoot for hi-tech that is truly integrated, mostly hidden and mostly about efficiency, not bling. Say, smart, zoned HVAC, super-efficient insulation and windows (say, even the LCD dimmable variety)--and to that effect, just a general attention to using advanced materials, design and techniques in the construction of the building itself, not just more gizmos in a standard sheetrocked McMansion.

futuristic home (5, Funny)

prurientknave (820507) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892610)

I want a futuristic home that pays its own property taxes. that way i can live in it forever.

Re:futuristic home (1)

SeeMyNuts! (955740) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892877)


No kidding. I wonder how many people, after getting their interest-only balloon-payment mortgage, get burnt after realizing they are bilked for $6000/year in property tax?

"Man, that really is a nice library! Oooh, look at the schools! Gilded goal posts!"
(one week elapses)
"What do you mean you don't accept post-dated checks? If it's good in 2051, it's good today, right?"

Green/backup power...mmmmm (2, Interesting)

COBOLgrrl (715134) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892618)

I love the idea of "green" backup power via wind and/or solar so that a power outage will no longer mean that I'm without PC/TV/fridge/water/etc. I'd like one of those flash water heaters, too, so that I only heat as much water as I need. And can I have windows that automatically adjust to the outdoor light level, with optional manual override? Oh, and I don't need carpets, so how about one of those cool radiant-heat under the floor systems?

Automation Interaction? (2, Interesting)

ThyPiGuy (870924) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892621)

I'm a EE senior specializing in controls and also working for a small scale home automation company. My senior design project is a built from scratch auomation system offering wireless light control, temperature control, and media (IR) control. It will also provide energy monitoring.

The fun part about the project is coming up with ways to intereact with the system. I want to make it as scalable and expandable as possible, allowing any hobbyist to add functionality as they choose. How would you readers like to interact with your house? Voice seems simplest and the least messy, but what creative ways would you enjoy interacting with your home?

Re:Automation Interaction? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14892892)

what creative ways would you enjoy interacting with your home?

Sexually. Make the lights flare for the really good thrusts, and quickly ramp up the fanfare music as I climax (just set the timer for 2min33secs).

--
e48725030429c9c080ac1436aab5606c - in case I want to claim this message :)

I think I speak for everyone here (1)

r00b (923145) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892625)

I would love for my living room to look like the bridge of the Enterprise.

Re:I think I speak for everyone here (1)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892668)

And a holodeck in the garage.

Re:I think I speak for everyone here (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892803)

Don't tell that to the guy above who wants Serenity instead. ;-)

Re:I think I speak for everyone here (1)

Bucc5062 (856482) | more than 8 years ago | (#14893134)

which Enterprise? TOS, NG, X. For space and comfort NG had the best layout. I could see the main viewer as an awesome projection screen, the science station hooked to a semi automated dumb waiter that pulls snacks from a freezer, heats them up and delivers them on deck.

The dream ... (1)

Lanhdanan (676256) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892645)

Windows that let sun in, but keep nosy people out.

Hidden passages throughout the house, including a tunnel or two!

An entertainment room that would put Imax to shame.

underground garage - - kinda like the old batman TV show, only without the bats and crimefighting tech

an open flow/feel to every common area (kitchen, living room, dining room, balcony, patio, etc )

BIG back yard with all the fixin's -- pool, play ground

Small race track for bikes or minicars around said BIG yard (10+ acres)

helicopter pad (and helicopter of course)

just about every form of anti-spying technology possible. If you want to peek, ya gotta come to the front door.

gates encompassing the entire front yard to keep people out from asking about my house. w/cameras, electrified fence, dogs, etc ...

elevated lake side view

Gotta have a sun room ...

Bed room that has nearly 360 degrees of windows (see ideal window above) ... and has automated curtains

voice activated everything. Stove, TV, stereo, computer, doors ...

im sure there is more, but that is just off the top of my head :)

Re:The dream ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14892961)

> [long post snipped]

You want what I want. A Reconditioned Missile Silo [silohome.com] .

Windows on the above-ground facilities. All the tunnels and underground garage space you want in the rest. A back yard big enough for its own airstrip.

And as for security - you can't beat a 2000-pound blast door for keeping nosy neighbors at bay.

Re:The dream ... (1)

rah1420 (234198) | more than 8 years ago | (#14893022)

I'm burning mod points, darn it, but I just couldn't resist...

Hidden passages throughout the house, including a tunnel or two!

You mean like this? [hiddenpassageway.com]

Re:The dream ... (1)

YaRness (237159) | more than 8 years ago | (#14893056)

You don't like crimefighting gadgets?

I don't ask for much... (1)

ChristTrekker (91442) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892653)

One that's paid for in full. Just a future goal, not a futuristic one.

Shipping container (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14892655)

I think I would like to live in a modernist prefab home [fabprefab.com] like the ones listed here. The shipping container home looks damn cool too.

A grass hut on an island not under water (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892674)

given that global warming will cause many to disappear, and that the resulting ice age will make such warm properties to be very disirable.

Oh, with beautiful women, natch.

Ideal Home (1)

DeadlyEmbrace (740321) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892688)

Obviously.... it would have to have a secret passage and a bat cave!

Re:Ideal Home (1)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 8 years ago | (#14893049)

And it should be on a private island [singercastle.com] .

Re:Ideal Home (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14893117)

Obviously.. if your reading slashdot your not Batman...

Insulation, Insulation, Insulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14892729)

I'm in Alberta Canada. My heating bill (natural gas) is $200-$300 month in the Winter and I live in a relatively new, well insulated (I've checked) home. It's no wonder I need a high wage to keep alive compared to people living in more temperate climes :-)
If I could live on $10,000 per year, I would (Simple living)...but I can't mainly because of the high cost of keeping warm. (my single family house property taxes are also $2,000/year to pay for all the city services in a much-too-huge, much-too-spread-out city.
Get rid of all garages too so that we can get rid of cars. People have to take either public transit, bike, or walk.

If I had enough time to rebuild and do it right... Triple pane glass, better furnace "zones", and insulation up the wazoo.

Thomas

Alton Brown designed kitchen (3, Interesting)

SatanMat (757225) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892733)

As EVERY good geek shold know Alton Brown shold design the kitchen to be mulitasked, and well hacked.

I can't afford it anyway, so why bother? (2, Interesting)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892765)

Given that most people's spending habits (or abilities) don't cover what's currently available, perhaps you should focus on making current technology more affordable, rather than trying to invent new gizmos?

There are lots of things I could do today that I can't afford to. For instance, I'd love to be able to put a bunch of wireless cameras throughout the house that can be remotely activated and viewed on a handheld. That would allow my wife to keep an eye on our kids without having to search through the house every time. But even though a cheapo webcam is $40, such a configuration would cost thousands with the products that are available on the market.

Re:I can't afford it anyway, so why bother? (2, Informative)

deman1985 (684265) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892954)

Out of curiosity, what would be a feasible price point for something like what you described?

I don't disagree that the pricing on much of the currently available home integration technologies is out of reach of most consumers. My ultimate goal with my company is to eventually move into the design side of integration equipment and make the technology more widely accessible, but that is some time off. My personal belief as to why it is so "overpriced" in comparison with PC's and more common consumer electronics is simply the niche market that is has been in for so long. Even for international companies like Crestron, their mass production numbers can't come anywhere close to what Dell does. By the time enough units have been shipped of a particular technology to bring the price down, that technology is vastly out of date. There is also limited competition on the manufacturing side. This combined with the commonly held view that home integration (or variations of it) is a luxury forces the technology to stay below that threshold where competition, mass production and wide availability pushes the price down. It will happen eventually, though, don't worry.

An Idealized house... (2, Interesting)

Zitchas (713512) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892778)

Well, for the actual house design, I think we all have our own desires as to that, and probably for the better. As far as technology itself goes, there's a fair number of extras I'd love to have in my house. Most of these would, ideally, not be overly visible changes in decor or anything. Technology is good, but I like to keep it low profile.

1) The entire house being a Faraday Cage [wikipedia.org] would be very nice. I'm not sure how hard it would be to build it perfectly without doing silly things like getting rid of windows, but it shoud be possible to get one that is substantially intact. With the prevalance of wireless *everything* nowdays, I enjoy being able to keep it all on the outside. Probably do good things for my risk of getting cancer and whatnot too. (and becomes an eternal cellphone black-out zone as an added bonus...)

2) Shielded power supply that keeps electronic stuff from interfering with each other.

2b) UPS protected power supply wired in for a small range of "essential" stuff, and for those things that really shouldn't be at the mercy of power fluctuations and what not. Along the lines of a single pair of plugs per room (using different colored plugins to differentiate)

2c) Alternate power supplies: Whether it be solar panels, a small wind turbine, or whatever, something would be good. Understandably, it might not be able to keep the entire house running, but it'd be good to have *something*, anyway.

3) Phone and network jacks in every room. Standard phone jack, and whatever one desires as a network interface for that. But one port for each in every room, and all wired into a nice spot for a router. In my case, I'd want it on a shelf out of the way in my comp area where I could still see it/acces it, but it'd never get in the way.

4) Alternate heating: If at all possible, solar water heater tank, maybe even full scale solar heating. If local terrain permits, geothermal heating/cooling. The fridge could be tied directly into the later, making the kitchen quiter and reducing inefficiencies in the system. (heat inside the fridge isn't stuck into the area immidiadly surrounding it to warm it up again)

5) Good, variable, lighting: Sometimes I like to have bright lights illuminating everything, sometimes I don't want anything more than indirect gentle lighting. Likewise, the option to let good large amouts of natural light in would be a deffinite plus, although the blinds or covers would also be desired. I'm not a fan of those big glass houses with zero-privacy.

6) At least two exterior doors, on opposite sides of the house from each other. Not that I feel the need to always have escape options, but sometimes I may just need to leave the house in the opposite direction of the front door, for whatever reason. That, and I like having equally easy access to both front and back yards.

6b) That being said, having at least one door being wheelchair accessible would be nice. I don't have very many friends in wheelchairs, but should I invite them over, I'd like at least the public part of my house (aka living room, dining room, entryway, and a bathroom) to be accessible. Note that doesn't necesarily require that the house have each of those as seperate rooms (depending on budget and design, the first three could very well be a single room). And as far as that goes, if chance should happen that I am in a wheelchair for some reason, I'd like to be able to live in at least part of my house without problem.

7) Garages: A garage is optional, I don't really see much need for one, unless I'm located out of town a long ways or need to comute long distances for some other reason. But a half-sized garage would be nice, about the right size for a couple bicycles or a motorcycle... Regardless, though, the garage should NOT be a central feature in the house. All those houses that look like someone designed a garage and stuck a house on the back look, quite honestly, extremely ugly, univiting, and a huge waste of money. My apologies to the hundreds of architects out there that seem to pump out endless variations of the house atached to a garage theme, or the poor people who actually have to pay to live in one. Ideally, the garage should be tucked around the back and/or side of the house, and should visually be as insignificant as possible. A single garage at most, unless there is a darn good reason otherwise. (and no, living somewhere where there is ocasionally snow and temperatures below zero C does not count.)

Well, As far as unusual things go, I think that's about as much as I can think of off the top of my head. There's a lot of other design quirks that I'd put in, but these are the intresting things. I hope you like'm.

Two words (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892809)

Moonbase Alpha [space1999.net]

Re:Two words (2, Funny)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892890)

Feh.

The right two words are "Death Star."

Because I like having a lot of room, deep chasms without guardrails, planet-destroying lasers, but I don't like the countryside. Too many trees, and not enough lasers.

Self-sufficiency (2, Interesting)

Carik (205890) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892834)

I've spent quite a lot of time thinking about this recently, as I'm getting ready to move out of a condo, into a house.

I'd like a house which is relatively self-sufficent: grid connected is fine, but I want solar/wind/hydro backup power, and a good battery bank so when the power lines go out, I can keep reading without having to dig out the candles. Something that's cheap to heat would be a plus, too: either high insulation values, or good passive-solar heating, or, more ideally, both. Sustainable heating would be a tremendous plus: either wood, or a multi-fuel furnace.

Built in conduit for running whatever the networking preference of the week is would be nice, as well as an electrical system that can handle a few additions to the house.

Oh, and one other thing: it needs to look like a HOUSE. Not a flying saucer. Not a pile of concrete. Not a space-ship, a dinosaur, or a giant fuzzy pumpkin. A house.

Dymaxion! (1)

M33574 PHr3N371K (954690) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892845)

If you're in the market for a futuristic dream home, you should probably take a look at Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion House:

http://www.hfmgv.org/dymaxion/opening.html [hfmgv.org]

(It's a shame they never went into large-scale production)

-PHr3N371K

Thermostat knows if I won't be home soon. (1)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892934)

I programmed one of my servers to notice if I'm logged on to the computer at work. If I am then it relaxes the temperature setpoint. When it sees me log off it returns the setpoint to normal so that the house is comfortable when I get home.

I don't have to do anything special; it simply notices whether I'm online at work or not and reacts accordingly.

List of prefect house factors (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892958)

1. As far away from the rest of humanity as possible.

All other considerations are secondary. Crew expendable.

Camouflagellation (2, Interesting)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892984)

"If you had access to an unlimited budget, what would you spend money on to make your home stand out? "

Everything in my power to make it NOT stand out. I want the benefits of high-tech with the clean living of low-tech. One of my favorites are the speakers that you install in your walls, and then pain over the fronting when you paint your walls. Totally invisible, and great for playing pranks on unsuspecting houseguests.

The only constraint on everything being hidden would be that everything needs to be easily accessible for tinkering/servicing.

My biggest pet peeve, however, is the control systems for a lot of home electronics setups. I don't want to have to access my PC to change the thermostat setting, nor do I want to have a ridiculous remote or set of remotes. I would like to be able to control everything via my cell phone or PDA, locally or remotely.

Finally, I want an army of fembots at my disposal, along with a place to store them.

Obvious answer... (2, Funny)

The Fun Guy (21791) | more than 8 years ago | (#14892985)

One where the mortgage has a stamp on it that reads, "Paid in Full".

(28 years and 3 months from now, I'm gonna tell the bank to KMA!)

My Ideal Futuristic Home.... (1)

chris_eineke (634570) | more than 8 years ago | (#14893004)

would be designed by someone who knows what she is doing [amazon.com] .

(The link is safe to click. T'was the first hit at google.)

Grunge? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14893005)

Damn I left 'Year's Best SF 2' in my locker at work, but I owe this vision to the one of the writers, author of 'Bicycle Repairman':

It'll be like a trailer/cargo van, suspended from the ceiling of an abandoned skyscraper/abandoned hi-rise with cables, but you can raise or lower the box at will if you want to accept visitors, by means of a button (or throw switch). THe residence was hoisted by this group of urban climbers called the City Spiders. A hole was blasted on the side of the building, to let it through.

Inside I will have all the tech I need. One room will look like Tank's control center, with cables and articulated swingarms, not just for monitors but for assorted beverages/snacks. Another will be nice and clean with a work center having a skylight. Think IonStorm's cubicle in that Dallas tower.

Once in a while Jessica Alba would show up. But then the batteries for the holographic image would sputter and fizz.

Hidden Passageways! (1)

ikegami (793066) | more than 8 years ago | (#14893016)

A company named Hidden Passageway [hiddenpassageway.com] recently came to my attention/

All I want are Ethernet ports and a wiring closet. (1)

Rekolitus (899752) | more than 8 years ago | (#14893078)

It would be simple and not overcomplicated, with no actual automation, but with consideration toward future improvement. Initially, it would have:

  • RJ-45 jacks in every room that run Cat5e or Cat6 cabling back to the wiring closet.
  • A wiring closet, positioned in consideration that wireless access points may be placed in it, and that ISP's cables may also be run into it.
  • If there is no RJ-45 jack and accompanying cable where I need it to be, it will not turn out to be utterly impossible to install one there.

Later on:

  • Doorbell would be an IP device and get its power using PoE.
  • All telephones would be VoIP (and standards-compliant — no Skype), going to an Asterisk server that interfaces with the PSTN in the wiring closet.
  • Audio systems would not be permanently wired into the house. They would either be wireless, or run thru the RJ-45 jacks (either IP or just analog, [ab]using the Cat6 cable.)

OFF THE GRID (1)

bgardella (132855) | more than 8 years ago | (#14893091)

I'd want my home completely off the grid. That way I can keep my meat refrigerated after Armageddon.

--b

Whole-house video... (1)

Veldcath (591080) | more than 8 years ago | (#14893111)

How about a video distribution system where you carry an RFID "key" with you and as you move from room to room, the TV/stereo in the one you just left turns on and the one in the room you entered into turns on and tunes itself to the station/dvd/whatever you were watching in the other location - so you can keep watching as you move about doing other things.

I'd love to have a system which would turn lights on/off ahead/behind me that's smart enough to know that if I was just in my bed to keep things dim, but could be overridden at any lightswitch.

-V

Hot Chicks Room (5, Funny)

jmhewitt (811760) | more than 8 years ago | (#14893130)

Realtor: This is the Hot Chicks Room. The breakfast table's just over this way...
Wife: Excuse me? What was that room again?
Realtor: Oh, this is the Hot Chicks Room. It's filled with assorted hot chicks, who party in here 24 hours a day. But you'd be more interested in the kitchen.
Wife: You know what? We're not going to need a sexy chicks room.
Realtor: Well, actually it's a Hot Chicks Room.
Wife: Well, whatever it is, we don't need it.
Husband: You said the same thing about the microwave, and we use that darned thing all the time.
[to realtor]
Husband: So, a Hot Chicks Room, huh?
Realtor: Yeah. The previous owner installed the room in the 80's, and I'll be honest with you, some of the chicks aren't all that hot anymore. However, they are replacable.

A few things (2)

metamatic (202216) | more than 8 years ago | (#14893133)

Ethernet to every room.

Spare cables to every room.

Triple coax from the roof to the living room, for satellite dish and local antenna. (I had to arrange extra coax myself, and it was a pain.)

Hookups in the bathrooms for Toto washlets.

Passive motion / IR sensors in every room to switch lights off after a while if there's nobody in the room, and turn down the heating or AC.

Bath with thermostatic control and fill sensor. Set temperature, it fills itself and then chimes when it's ready.

Panel in house that indicates outdoor temperature, weather forecast for the day, whether there's something in the mailbox and whether the mailbox flag is up. Option to have the mailbox chime.

Server closet with good ventilation.

Centralized control of most devices and outlets (1)

RunFatBoy.net (960072) | more than 8 years ago | (#14893147)

I would love to have some sort of integrated control center. I want to be able to turn off the bathroom's plug-in in case my girlfriend left her curling iron on. I want to see the state of the oven and how long that turkey has been cooking. As devices get smarter, it would be nice to have some sort of standardized plug-in protocol where each device exposed certain, adjustable properties. -- Jim http://www.runfatboy.net/ [runfatboy.net]
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