Microsoft's Home of the Future Evolved Since First Incarnation

Microsoft Home of the future, an innovative initiative designed to explore next generation technologies in the household of tomorrow, is moving to the next stage in its evolution, according to the Redmond company. The first Microsoft Home was built in 1994 to show people how technology could transform everyday experiences, and now years later, the […]

Microsoft Home of the future, an innovative initiative designed to explore next generation technologies in the household of tomorrow, is moving to the next stage in its evolution, according to the Redmond company. The first Microsoft Home was built in 1994 to show people how technology could transform everyday experiences, and now years later, the reinvented full-scale model home continues imagine a future in which interacting with computers is as comfortable as coming home.

Jonathan Cluts, director of the Strategic Prototyping Team responsible for the Microsoft Home, confirmed that Microsoft Home is right in the middle of a big revamp.

"If there's no place like home, there's definitely no place like the Microsoft Home. There's a doorbell, but a palm-scan or mobile phone will also open the front door. Sensors let you know your plants need watering. You can check the inventory of your fridge and pantry via your phone while you're out shopping. Grace, the home's computer, will even help you check on your grandmother, remember to take your medicine, study up for a big anatomy test, or make focaccia without the need for a recipe book."

"Really the goal of the home is to expand people's ideas of what's possible with technology, and have discussions about technology in a non-traditional setting," says Cluts, a regular tour guide and director of the Strategic Prototyping Team responsible for the Microsoft Home. "It's not a conference room, and it's not a PowerPoint presentation. These ideas are much easier to show than explain, and we liked the idea of an immersive experience that showed what it would be like if some of this technology came to fruition," he says.

"The Home is a terrific space that enables us to prototype a truly holistic view of what the future could look and feel like," Mundie reveals.

From the hundreds of thousands of visitors one question keeps being repeated as a leitmotif, since people are quite interested in knowing just how soon they'll be able to get all the "toys" featured inside the Microsoft Home.

"It's pretty close, as it's a place we showcase the vision that I, and others, have been evangelizing," Mundie adds.

At the core of the home is a revolution in human - computer interaction, a new model based on natural user interfaces (NUIs).

NUI sensors can understand human gestures, touch, voice commands, can detect presence, etc. innovative devices such as Kinect for Xbox 360 are already available on the market, showing the true power of NUI.

"It's important to invest in exploring long-term technology trends," Mundie commented. "The Strategic Prototyping Team, working closely with me, is charged with maintaining a forward-looking view and building prototypes so that we can 'live in the future' today.

"The Home allows us to see how new experiences may impact hardware and software design, user interfaces, security and privacy, and more - and socialize those ideas with people inside and outside the company," Cluts said.

Here's a video Walk through Microsoft's Home of the Future:

[Source: Microsoft Press ]