Robots, Foldable TVs and More: Our Smart-Home Outlook for 2022


Household tech continues to advance at a breakneck pace, from energy efficiency to entertainment to automation.

Developments outside the home are changing tech inside the home—think hybrid work arrangements, labor shortages and climate change, to name a few.

Exactly how will that influence your kitchen, bathroom, home office? Our predictions for 2022 offer a sneak peek.

Flexibility and a multifunction mindset will move from workspaces to the rest of the home. Adaptable furniture will offer more than one use. Energy efficiency will get even smarter thanks to near-autonomous homes that recognize you, your movement patterns and your daily habits.

Beyond the Roomba and shrill mechanical dogs, robots may become part of the household as technology improves and prices lessen. And televisions will continue their inexorable march to the future with foldable, rollable models and sets that recognize gestures.

Multifunction Rooms, Adaptable Furniture

In the old days—like 2019— most homes were still getting built with single-purpose rooms, like the living room, den, kitchen, bathroom or bedroom. As more of us work remotely, that kind of siloed thinking doesn’t work as well. Anyone who had to work from home over the past two years probably realized it’s not as easy as it looks to convert a den or basement space to an office.

In 2022, look for purpose-built “Swiss-Army-knife” rooms, like the den that becomes a gym that hides a playroom that repurposes into a conference space. Clever use of room dividers, smart storage inside furniture pieces, and everything modular and on wheels will make it a snap to rearrange and repurpose a room. Furniture itself might pitch in; IKEA is working with Brooklyn startup Ori on robotic furniture that changes with your needs, like a bed that disappears on command or a closet that moves when you need space.

Photo: Ikea

Energy-Efficiency: Homes Take Control

There’s an old adage that if you learn to let go, you can gain more control. When it comes to energy-efficiency in smart homes, that’s certainly becoming the case. In 2022, look for systems that train themselves to adjust lighting and heating/cooling systems based on your comings, goings and habits. A new system could dim lights in the living room when it senses your television is on. It might relax air-conditioning or heating if it knows you’ve left the room—a version of which many hotels have already implemented.

Look for new developments from Nest’s Learning Thermostat, ecobee’s Alexa-enabled ecobee4 and Zen Within’s Zen Thermostat. As a bonus, once home systems learn movement patterns, the next step may be to recognize occupants—and to integrate with security systems when an unfamiliar pattern occurs at an unusual time. Of course, you can control all of these devices through your phone. But the next step will be for the home to run itself autonomously, adjusting settings on a range of energy uses based on initial inputs and ongoing habits.

Photo: Ecobee

Robots Come Home

Most of the progress in robotics has been for industrial or commercial use. But some of that technology is already crossing over into home use.

Amazon recently unveiled Alexa-enabled Astro, which resembles a mechanical duck that can find its way around, detect unrecognized people and capture video wherever you send it in the house. Astro’s already got competition from Hello Robot, whose home page displays an elegant robot arm handing its presumptive owner a cup of coffee. The company calls its products “mobile manipulators.”

Humanoid robots may not be far behind. Designed for industrial use, Elon Musk’s Teslabot is programmed to perform physical tasks considered “unsafe, repetitive or boring,” Tesla says, but its applications for home use are obvious.

And Servi robots, which deliver plates to tables in some restaurants, promise appealing applications for overworked home cooks. The race is on to bring costs down—experts say the 5-foot-8-inch Teslabot could cost in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Photo: Amazon

Know When to Fold ’Em: Smart TVs

TVs keep getting bigger. Their brains get smarter. The pictures, sharper. But some of these sets are so gigantic they dominate a room. The solution? Foldable TVs. CSeed’s M1 rises from your floor as a sleek black column, then unfolds into a 165-inch 4K MicroLED display TV. It’s $400,000, but just remember what flat-screens cost when they first hit the scene.

If that price tag hurts, but size really matters, Samsung’s planning to release a 110-inch microLED TV in 2022, reported to retail for $150,000.

If you can wait, reports say the next generation of smart, storable TVs will include thin, hi-def display panels you can stick on a wall. And LG is, um, rolling out its rollable TVs internationally in 2022 after beta launches in selected countries. The television expands and retracts out of a sleek base by rolling and unrolling. LG has said the set can withstand 50,000 roll cycles. Will that cover your binge watching?

Photo: CSEED

Source: Mansion Global

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