We may not live in a futuristic world of jetpacks, robot maids and flying cars — at least not yet — but our homes are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Here’s a sneak peak at what smart home technology may offer in years to come.

1.  Integrated automated systems. With home automation, anything in your house that uses electricity can be added to the home network, allowing you to control it remotely through your smartphone, computer, keypad or other device. The new Nest Learning Thermostat, for example, allows users to adjust their home temperature via the web or on iOS and Android devices. (And talk about smart — the product aims to adapt to your heating and cooling preferences.) Integrated automated system technology has been around for several decades, but it’s likely to become more common in future homes.

2.  Smart grid technology. Whilemany technologies have made rapid advancements over the past several decades, the electric utility grid has remained essentially unchanged for the last century. That’s where the smart grid technology comes in. A “computerized” grid allows utilities to manage devices from a central location. Experts say this could help utilities avoid widespread outages and make homeowners more energy efficient. For example, participants in a smart grid pilot project in Boulder, Co. can choose run their dishwashers on solar power when it’s available.

3.  Smell-o-vision. Imagine watching your favorite cooking show while the savory smell of the featured dish wafts from your TV. Smell-o-vision, a technique that has been used in cinemas in the past but never took off, may soon be a reality in homes. Samsung and university researchers at the University of California, San Diego have developed a compact box that can generate 10,000 different aromas.

4. Health monitoring. Elderly people living alone are often faced with the decision to stay at home or move to an assisted living facility. But a new technology developed by UK researchers, InterHome, is aimed at helping them stay independent. A wristband worn by the homeowner can detect if the person has fallen or gone into shock. It communicates with the home system wirelessly and can alert registered people of a potential accident of health concern. Researchers say they’re working on making the wristband smaller; the prototype functions but is too bulky.

5. Touchscreens everywhere. You may regularly use a touchscreen to check in at the airport, complete an ATM transaction, and check the weather on your smartphone. But what about reading email on your bathroom mirror, rearranging digital pictures on your fridge, or controlling the heat of your range burners? According to the glass manufacturer Corning, our future homes could be equipped with such features — and the company’s durable specialty glass can help make it happen. However, their envisioned future still seems far off.

Thanks for reading…

Claire Richards REALTOR