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Smart homes aren't all about electronics and internet connectivity...nanotechnology can help you create your own "house of the future" today.
June 15th, 2008
The Ultimate Smart Home
Not too long ago Disney announced that it was re-building its house of the future. But when I read the details - there was some cool stuff, but overall, I was pretty disappointed. In my opinion, they really missed the mark.
Their focus is all on electronics - using computers and the internet to bring intelligence into the home. And that's a really good start, but I would argue - and have for several years now - that nanotechnology, in the form of new materials, is adding a dimension of intelligence to homes that surpasses that of electronics.
How? Most of the applications center around keeping a home pristinely clean, like the TV show Star Trek. Think about that for a second. In all the years the Starship Enterprise spent flying around space (especially the next-generation) - nothing was ever dirty or worn looking, was it? Look for this next time you watch the show. The carpet isn't stained (and there certainly aren't any worn spots), all of the metal surfaces are shiny and scratch-free, the walls don't have holes or patched holes - and all of the chairs are spotless.
How can that be?
I don't know what was going on in Star Trek, but today, that kind of ability to withstand wear comes courtesy of nanotechnology. Basically, the use of various nanoscale coatings that can make pretty much any surface - metal, wood, tile, fabric - last longer. Mildew won't grow on decks, door handles are germ-free, paint won't chip, wood won't scratch, and fabrics won't stain - even better, they won't fade.
Keep in mind that as you're shopping for products with these qualities, they may or may not specify the use of nanotechnology or nanomaterials - but these unique properties are a potential give-away.
For example, just a few days ago I saw a home improvement show in which a manufacturer demonstrated how their wood flooring was more scratch resistant - by rubbing a plank with steel wool. Normally, the surface would have been covered with scratches - but as the manufacturer noted - their use of aluminum oxide protected the wood against such scratching. I didn't catch the name of the manufacturer, but because he mentioned the use of aluminum oxide, and the fact that the wood didn't scratch, that was a sign to me that nanotechnology may be in play - as a super thin, protective coating.
In this particular application - nanotechnology isn't scary or harmful at all - in fact, it's a good thing - it's going to save you money over the long run, because you won't need to refinish your floors as often.
That's just one way that nanotechnology is making homes smarter. And with energy costs on the upswing, how about more efficient lightbulbs? Or better insulation?
In this week's radio show we'll get the builder's perspective on various ways that nanotechnology is making homes smarter than ever before. We'll also talk about next-generation mosquito control, anti-dust-mite fabric, and electronic plants.
You can listen to the entire show on bournereport.com or look for Bourne Report Radio in iTunes.
This article is a transcript of the Bourne Report Podcast #99.
Want to know more? Please visit: http://www.bournereport.com
© 2008 Bourne Research LLC. All rights reserved.