11/18/2013 11:11 am ET

7 Futuristic Innovations Your House Needs Now (PHOTOS)


Everyone has their own vision of what a lap of luxury looks like.

And while it no doubt includes generous space, the latest in home appliances, and opulent amenities, it probably doesn’t include an alien-like shower pod.

With the debut of the 2014 GMC Sierra, which combines spacious comfort with the latest in luxury tech via its IntelliLink system — a Bluetooth-enabled, touch-screen navigation center that responds using Natural Language voice command, allowing drivers to pipe in their media from multiple devices and Pandora Internet Radio via HD sound — we’re taking a pit-stop to admire the same strides made right here at home.

In celebrating the tradition of fusing fashion and function by way of genius household improvements designed to make your life easier, we’ve put the spotlight on some of the coolest creations — from concept to consumer-ready — that’ll put the “living” back in living room (and possibly keep you from ever leaving your dream house again).

What kind of futuristic furnishings do you want made real? Sound off in the comments below!

  • Floor Plan Light Switch
    Yanko Design
    Admit it: Even in our own homes, some of us are guilty of fumbling with light switches, somehow never certain of just which light is going to go off. Thankfully, designer Taewon Hwang saw the light, so to speak, and came up with the concept of the Floor Plan Light Switch — a customizable interface that mimics your own home’s floor plan to provide a micro-sized diagram of just where you want light. Finally, the days of playing Marco Polo in the dark are no more.
  • Eco Cleaner Dishwasher/Compost Creator
    Yanko Design
    “Waste not, want not” is a respectable mantra to live by, but if you’re the type to leave leftovers on your plate with little patience for reheating food later, you’ll most definitely want this. By ionizing food particles left on dishes via ultrasonic waves, the portable Electrolux Eco Cleaner concept designed by Ahi Andy Mohsen converts any residual food and grease into reusable compost that can be recycled for others that are hungry — namely the plants right in your own apartment or backyard. Oh, and it also works to leave your dishes sparkling clean, too (without any dish cleaner(!).
  • Nest Learning Thermostat
    Created by the man behind the original iPod, Tony Fadell, this similarly slick revamp of the thermostat is the next generation of cool — literally. While it monitors and keeps tabs on just when the temperature is changed, it is able to go into energy-saving mode while you’re away. Further, its Wi-Fi enabled, so controlling from afar via computer, tablet, or smartphone — or the couch some five feet away — is as much a breeze as you set it up to provide.
  • Gravity Light
    Graham Murdoch
    You’ll think twice about ever calling someone as dumb as a bag of rocks. Winner of the Popular Science’s 2013 Invention Awards, this cheaper and safer lamp alternative to kerosene fuel is the brainchild of designer Martin Riddiford and Jim Reeves that uses — you guessed it — rocks to create light. The way it works is by way of a weighted bag that descends, tugging a belt to turn a series of gears. Gears then work in unison to spin an electric motor, creating a small, bright LED for about 30 minutes at a time. External connectors can then power low-voltage devices. Good to know, then, that the system is designed to work for thousands of lift-and-drop cycles.
  • DoorBot
    One-word texts from visiting friends reading simply “here” are about as annoying as, well, when your pets are the ones letting you know when the doorbell rings. Whether you want to avoid the noise or merely screen the mysterious person knocking at your front door, DoorBot provides the peace of mind that hangs on your front porch and sends you a notification on your tablet or smartphone, allowing you to see and talk to the trick ‘r treaters or pizza delivery guy over Wi-Fi. It’ll run you about $199, but consider it a small price to pay when you catch the next punk who tries to ding-dong-ditch you.
  • EcoVea Shower System
    Nothing beats a long, hot shower — nothing until you get the utility bill at the end of the month. Those who dare to indulge regularly or simply want to be more eco-friendly now have a solution in the form of the EcoVea platform. By installing the system, the EcoVea sorts clean from dirty water, sending the reusable water back to the showerhead, thereby washing away any dirt (and guilt) you had before. You’ll come out 100 percent clean and save up to 80 percent on your water bills.
  • Tulip Shower Pod
    Yanko Design
    If you weren’t impressed having all the hot water with none of the guilt, just wait till you check out this shower-bathtub hybrid from designer Piotr Pyrtek. While the patent is pending and the concept is still seeking a manufacturer, the ultimate in futuristic furnishing is inspired by nature — the tulip, in particular — and operates as both a bath when open and a shower when closed. When open, underwater jets, massagers, and programmable sequences work like a Jacuzzi, while the shower alternative (closed and upright) greatly reduces one’s eco footprint through water usage. The best part? Pretending you’re an alien or Terminator exiting your pod after every morning’s wash. That’s an experience money can’t buy.
  • GMC
    And for those who want a slice of home away from home, look no further than the spacious comfort the 2014 GMC Sierra provides. Boasting a cabin engineered to offer some peace and quiet while you listen to your own favorite sounds via Intellilink, triple door seals and a hydraulic powertrain coupled with shear body mounts come together to tune out vibrations and noise, making your vehicle as comfortable as your home recliner. On wheels.