6. Smart fridge/cupboard: Tomorrow's major appliances could pitch in around the house as well. For example, future refrigerators and pantries could use a technology known as radio frequency identification, which deploys radio waves to tag and track goods, to take care of your grocery shopping. Sensors placed in refrigerators and pantries would monitor your food inventory. When the stock gets low, the sensors would notify the grocery store to have the food replaced. "When the milk and the vegetable bin and the eggs all reach a certain amount, the order is placed, and it is delivered," says Saul Klein, the CEO of Point2 Technologies. "It becomes more cost effective when you get a certain critical mass of need."
Launch date: Klein says this technology could be found in the typical American home by 2029.
7. Smart kitchen: The kitchen of the future isn't just a place to cook; it's a sous-chef. When a homeowner places a food item on the smart kitchen's counter, a monitor will display a list of additional ingredients available in the house and even offer recipe suggestions. "The system is trying to be assistive, rather than waiting for you to give it instructions," says Jonathan Cluts, director of strategic prototyping at Microsoft. Cluts worked on both the Innoventions Dream Home and the Microsoft Home.
Launch date: Similar smart kitchens are up and running in both the Innoventions Dream Home and the Microsoft Home. The technology could appear in the average American home by 2019, Cluts says.
8. Virtual mirror: Teens will be spending even more time staring at their reflections once technological advances enable mirrors to dole out fashion advice as an older sibling might. As a teenager gets ready for school, these interactive mirrors could remind her of the day's events and also help select an outfit. Through technology like radio-frequency identification, the mirror could identify articles of clothing held in front of it and suggest other items that might match. "That's a blue blouse, and it should go nicely with these other things in your closet," Cluts says.
Launch date: Similar mirrors are now operating in both the Innoventions Dream Home and the Microsoft Home. They could appear in the average teen's room by 2015, according to Cluts.