Disneyland is reviving its old "House of the Future" attraction — originally, this was a wheel-of-gouda-shaped plastic house sponsored by Monsanto that opened in 1957, featuring futuristic technology like cordless phones, giant TVs, electric razors, and kitchen appliances that rose out of the countertops. It was inspriringly goofy — and so indestructible that the wrecking-ball bounced off it and so the structure had to be disassembled with cutting torches and chainsaws.
The new version will look like a suburban McMansion and will feature stuff that sounds like rejects from CES: touch-screen home automation, automatic lights and temperature (oooh, a thermostat!), and assorted junk from HP, Microsoft, and a couple other sponsors.
I'd rather see Disney give us something built out of surplus shipping containers, filled with just-in-time blobjects that track their existence through spimes and gracefully decompose into the manufacturing stream at their end of life. Something that at least looks like the future, rather than the model home in a pre-subprime-meltdown housing development.
The system will allow residents to transfer digital photos, videos and music among televisions and computers in different rooms at the click of a button. Other applications still in development could include touch-screen technology built into appliances, furniture and countertops, said Joe Belfiore, Microsoft's vice president for entertainment services.
In the kitchen, for example, touchpad software on the countertop would be able to identify groceries and produce recipes and meal suggestions. Similar programs could turn a desktop into a computer screen, allowing residents to load photos, music or e-mail onto a cell phone by placing it on the desk.