|High tech, Victorian style: Close up view of a|
leading-edge shower faucet of the era.
There was another big technology blip in the late 1800s, when gas lighting, telephones, central heating, indoor plumbing, and finally electricity all made their appearance in Victorian homes within the span of a few decades.
|Nutone intercom "master station" of the kind fitted to|
many super-high-end houses of the 1940s-1960s:
While exercising all these godlike powers over your furniture and appliances might be exhilarating to Silicon Valley propellerheads, they also engender some problems.
The incredible Electro Sink Center, which not only
featured push-button controls for a whole slew of
faucet functions, but also had electric (!) motors
at either end for food preparation.
|Is this the omniscient thermostat of the future,|
or the Electro Sink Center of the future?
Only time will tell.
For their time, these features were the at the leading edge of technology. Today, they’re just charming anachronisms that draw chuckles instead of awe.
Now imagine a whole galaxy of outdated hardware built into a formerly-smart house. That could be just as embarrassing. After all, no matter how advanced the software might be, drawing drapes and opening valves necessarily requires good old-fashioned electromechanical actuators—very old-school industrial items in themselves. Their slow but inevitable failure could provide enough hijinks for a Lucy Show episode.
The key to making a house smart lies, not simply in having every doorknob and coat hanger wired up to the internet, but doing it in a way that can grow and change with today’s rapid advances in technology, whether electronic or simply physical. If you’re in the market for smart house systems, make sure both the software and the hardware can be easily updated. Like a person, no house can claim to be smart unless it keeps on learning.