When I was much younger, I loved watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. It wasn’t about the corny plots, the lame acting or the cheesy one-liners. It was all about the technology. Doors which opened and closed automatically in the blink of an eyelid, voice-activated computers, being able to summon up someone’s face on a big screen and talk to them even though they were thousands of miles away! How awesome was that!
My obsession was so bad that pretty much everyone around me noticed and thought I had lost the plot. I used to verbally command supermarket automatic sliding doors to ‘open’ as I approached. I’d get into an elevator and tell it which floor I wanted as I hit the button: “Deck four, main shuttlebay”. My favorite line of all was saved for times such as when I was asked if I wanted ketchup with my fries and I responded ‘make it so’. Or perhaps it was as I took my seat on the bus, having paid my fare and I announced to the driver and passengers alike “set a course for Oakey and Spencer, warp factor 9. Engage!”
Okay, so I was a total geek and a nerd and, to tell the truth, I still am. The evidence is irrefutable. Let me invite you to step into my home, if you will…
As you come through the hatch or ‘front door’ as some like to call it you may not have been aware that you were being watched remotely. That’s right, I was alerted to your presence by an app on my smart phone. As I saw it was you, I commanded the door to open and not to close until you were safely inside. Had you been a Romulan spy or other unwelcome visitor, I could have sounded an alarm and shone a light in your eyes to encourage you to run a light year.
Now that you’re on board, you can take a look around the lower deck. Here you’ll find the basic life-support systems (water heater, main electric board, kitchen with appliances) and the ten-forward lounge (okay, the lounge) with dining and entertainment facilities. The lighting and heating systems and all the appliances can be controlled by voice and touch. The lights, water heater, underfloor heating and blinds are all pre-programmed so as to need minimal adjustment. The large screen you see is a smart TV, also configured for voice command. There are some great smart TVs on the market now, if you have some money that you need to get rid of. Whether you want to dance to some music, play interactive games or kick back and watch a movie, all you have to do is tell the system what you want! Want some food delivered? As you command, sir!
What you are experience is basically the effect of having a control platform – like an operating system for your house. This is what seemed so futuristic and far-away on the Starship Enterprise, but is now a reality and will eventually become the norm.
On the upper deck you’ll find the crew quarters (bedroom), main bridge (office) and bathroom (err, bathroom). The heating and lighting here are also connected to the main control platform. There is some intelligence, too – when I get up in the night to use the toilet, I don’t have to flick any light switches, turn any heating knobs, flush any toilet chains or even turn any taps. It all happens automatically. I’m still looking at automated cleaning systems to install but I haven’t quite figured it out yet.
Separate from the main hull of my home and accessible through a side vault are the main cargo bay and engineering labs. Or we could just call them my garage and workshop. Again, the lighting and heating are hooked up to the main control platform. The garage is a double door which is sensor automated by the sleekest and eerily quietest opener I managed to find at Garage Automatics.
In here you’ll find the Captain’s escape shuttle – currently an old Freelander, but soon to be upgraded (hopefully) to a Jaguar Land Rover – the ‘self-learning intelligent car of the future’. You’d better believe it – the future has arrived. And by the way, pretty soon I won’t be the geek anymore – just a regular guy. You’d better keep up!
Well, thanks so much for letting me show you around. I’ll have you escorted to the transporter room and let you go boldly on your way!