Senior care homes are becoming high-tech medical devices.

Senior care homes are becoming high-tech medical devices.

This article is adapted from The Great Indoors: The Surprising Science of How Buildings Shape Our Behavior, Health, and Happiness, by Emily Anthes, published by Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux. For more than half a century, writers and futurists, from Ray Bradbury to the creators of The Jetsons, have been conjuring up intelligent, high-tech homes that essentially run themselves. In their versions of the future, our homes would be much more than shelter: The houses of tomorrow would cook, clean, and care for us. They’d wake us up, make us breakfast, and then tidy up afterward. Tomorrow is here. In homes across the world, smart thermostats glow, autonomous vacuums spin, and intelligent speakers stand at attention. Programmable shades rise with the sun, and connected refrigerators monitor our supply of milk. We can rely on smart flowerpots to water the plants, smart pet feeders to dispense kibble to the dog, and smart locks to let the maintenance worker in—all while we’re out of the house. By 2023, more than half of American households, and one-sixth of those around the world, are expected to have smart home devices. The first wave of products aimed to alleviate the hassles of daily living, but now Big Brother is getting an MD. The smart mattresses that keep us comfortable are also collecting reams of data about our sleep quality, heart rate, and respiration, while some smart thermostats are monitoring the air quality in our homes. Many companies now sell smart pill bottles that light up, chime ...
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