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OH MY GOD I AM SO EXCITED
September 7, 2010 5:36 PM   Subscribe

Home Computing in the Future, according to Freescale Semiconductor (Vimeo)

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posted by azarbayejani (65 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow, in the future the wife can cook and clean from the bathroom!
posted by Mr. Anthropomorphism at 5:51 PM on September 7, 2010 [15 favorites]


Maybe I'd be more sold on the mirror interface if she were actually using it as a mirror at the same time: brushing her teeth, etc. As is, it plays more like a wall display that she's forced to stand up to use.

Also, DON'T LEAVE THE TRANSPARENT GIZMO ON THE BED! SOMEONE WILL SIT ON IT!
posted by brundlefly at 5:52 PM on September 7, 2010 [8 favorites]


I hope this turns out like this prediction and not like all of the predictions of flying cars and silver jumpsuits.
posted by phunniemee at 5:52 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


How does that little doctor man get into the lady's space tablet at the end?
Weird shit.
posted by Monkeymoo at 5:53 PM on September 7, 2010


In the future, I will have to be invited in order to eat dinner with my wife and kids?
posted by The World Famous at 5:56 PM on September 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


The future looks bright for those who live in countries with access to affordable healthcare!
posted by heyho at 5:58 PM on September 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


Things I learned about the future:

Your friendless child will deplete your credit card from the back seat, without ever talking to you.

You'll catch a computer virus from touching your bathroom mirror, which will be just as nasty then as it is now.
posted by hanoixan at 6:08 PM on September 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Looks like cheeseball disco will at some point conquer the world...
posted by Trochanter at 6:11 PM on September 7, 2010


In the future, mirrors will have magic oil displacement mechanisms, so that you'll never see the smudges made by the constant touching by their users.
posted by Brak at 6:13 PM on September 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


You'll catch a computer virus from touching your bathroom mirror, which will be just as nasty then as it is now.

This is an excellent point. I already wage a constant battle with my bathroom mirror to cull the errant toothpaste/spit flecks. I can only imagine the troubles that would ensue if the mirror were also a touchscreen computer. One wayward swipe with the Windex, and suddenly I've set the furnace to 150 degrees and sent naked pictures to my grandma.
posted by phunniemee at 6:15 PM on September 7, 2010 [20 favorites]


In the future, there are apparently only three actual people.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:15 PM on September 7, 2010


And, at least on mute, I hate all of them. That's probably why I'm not depicted in the future. They've already eliminated me.
posted by Brak at 6:16 PM on September 7, 2010


This is the first "vision of the future" kind of thing that feels like it's just from 5 years in the future. I have no doubt that we'll see most/all of these things soon (with the exception of holographic ping-pong.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 6:16 PM on September 7, 2010


I have no doubt that we'll see most/all of these things soon

With the iPod touch the mirror interface is already here. Ever try to watch a movie in a non-darkened room?
posted by Trochanter at 6:19 PM on September 7, 2010


Sometimes I feel like I'm the only person left in the world who enjoys doing things by himself.
posted by penduluum at 6:20 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


That was an awful lot of swiping. The bathroom scene looked really tiring.
posted by oddman at 6:21 PM on September 7, 2010


Ok, LOLMISOGYNY aside, these videos are pretty neat and well-produced, but my reaction is pegged solidly at "wow, the future seems... plausible."

What happened to the X OF THE FUTURE motif as it used to be: wildly speculative, light on details, and brash with confidence?

It seems to me that if you're going to take a gamble on predicting the future, you could do worse than to bet the farm that way; you captivate your current audience and become a lovably quaint cultural touchstone in the generations that follow.

For some reason* this tactic fell out of favor pretty much completely. I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure this genre was all but extinct in the post-Cold-War years.

The only other recent example that comes to mind are those "You Will" ads from AT&T which are a different animal entirely, more like what we see here—not so much "you will if you can be inspired by this fanciful vision of what may be possible" but rather "no, really, you will. We just got out of a meeting with R&D and it's on track for a 3rd quarter launch."

The result is that, as I watch this, I can't help but think it's pretty much an iPad with a few more fancy gestures and a one less cable. The only thing that's drastically different is that everything is so seamlessly connected... which doesn't seem so far fetched so much as it makes me wonder who exactly I'll have to by from (and sign up with) to make sure all my devices, appliances, friends, and family would show up ever so nicely in my bathroom mirror.

In other words, it's a future that's a little too plausible, which puts the focus sharply on why it's so exciting for Freescale Semiconductor.


*Perhaps corporate America intentionally stepped away from being about the MIGHT! OF! MEN! so they could instead get cozy as just another member of your family, and as such were more concerned with being useful than astounding (and potentially wrong). Perhaps advancing technology was no longer a purely optimistic view in light of the arms race.
posted by Mr. Anthropomorphism at 6:28 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, this is a clear bigger iPad, with better integration. And I'm not even sure that clear would gain you anything, other than looking more futuristic in ads.
posted by smackfu at 6:30 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


In the future, mirrors will have magic oil displacement mechanisms, so that you'll never see the smudges made by the constant touching by their users.

Can we please put this on my Droid first? It's hard to read metafilter and eat at FiveGuys simultaneously.
posted by Netzapper at 6:33 PM on September 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


I bet that 17 years from now we'll have the same conversation about these ads that we did about the AT&T ads recently, complete with anti-Apple snark.
posted by joedan at 6:36 PM on September 7, 2010


I want the relative heights of multiple monitors to be automatically detected, so that the cursor moves from one to the next on the same apparent plane.
posted by swift at 6:36 PM on September 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Judging from the complete absence of porn, lolcats, goatses, smileys, illiterate commenters and rickrolling, I'd say this was faked.
posted by mhoye at 6:41 PM on September 7, 2010


The future is full of products that I would not buy? I got the 360 slim on release day and the iPhone 4 within a week. I'm rejecting the accuracy of all of this based on that.
posted by cmoj at 6:42 PM on September 7, 2010


Half of the stuff shown is already here, and the other half is absolutely useless.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 6:47 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


NB, FWIW: Freescale is a spin-off of Motorola.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:55 PM on September 7, 2010


Have you ever been irritated at answering work emails from the bathroom? YOU WILL. Actually, you probably already have.

Seriously, the bathroom mirror is the last place I want a computer. I might change my mind if it can shave me, wipe my ass, cut my hair, groom the increasingly wild yaks perched on my face I call eyebrows or do something usefully bathroom related like apply makeup better than Eddie Izzard, but, yeah, no thanks. That's just want I need is a smudgy, fingerprinted mirror capable of displaying porn. I need it like I need teeth in my asshole.

Yeah, we'll be snarking about this in 20 years just like we snark about the AT&T ads.

And why the clear or mirrored displays? Has anyone ever actually tried to do work on a clear display? I think I would get a headache. Look, we had a chance to try out clear displays with things like books and magazines - and some people experimented with it. There are reasons why it's not so great, and legibility is just the start.


In 20-30 years we might not even recognize computers. People are probably going to have their computers built into their eyeballs or brains by then, if not, then non-invasive neural interfaces like SQUID detectors and magnetic neural stimulation. The exceedingly limited "point and click" GUI model is an artifact of having to use a mouse and keyboard, not because it's efficient or cool. It's because computers are stupid.

As much as I like typing and reading I really hope in twenty years we move beyond that model. I would really like to be able to think at my computer and have it understand me by then.

Also: A woman "cooking" and "cleaning" from the bathroom? What? This is what advanced technology gets us? Hey Freescale? How about a robot butler instead of an overpriced remote start button? We already have remote controls.
posted by loquacious at 7:04 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I really prefer the vision espoused in the "Linux:Prodigy" ad from 2003.

"Data collection is wisdom. Data sharing is community."

The problem with the Freescale vision is that, sure, the fridge will diagnose your fever. Sounds handy, until it spends the rest of the day trying to sell you Freescale Fever Reducer, which will slowly etch away at your trust in the system.
posted by fake at 7:05 PM on September 7, 2010


Come on: if you're going to make your bathroom the command center of your house, you could at least make the main interface accessible from the toilet. This design displays utter contempt for the very concept of multitasking, and my knees ache at the very thought of having to lean over the bathroom vanity like that to invite my family to dinner.
posted by Casimir at 7:38 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


this is how it should have been!
posted by spish at 7:40 PM on September 7, 2010


I kinda like the idea of answering a business call while standing naked in front of the bathroom mirror. No one will make that mistake twice.
posted by maxwelton at 7:53 PM on September 7, 2010


How does that little doctor man get into the lady's space tablet at the end?

In the future, we will breed a race of wee flat homonculi to take care of our health care needs.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:57 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


21 years ago, I bought the most sophisticated, gorgeous piece of stereo equipment I've ever seen, back when I was making fourteen thousand dollars a year and a refurbished floor model of the device in question was almost seven hundred dollars. Hell, I was 21, I could live on ramen, and it's the goddamn future, man, hanging right there on my wall! I'm 21 and I'm living in the future!

Oooh, boy, you just…ohmyI'mgettingalittletingly…touch it, and it opens, and you touch it and it plays, and sure, I couldn't afford many CDs for a decade because I spent so much money to live in the future, but you just touch it.

Well, it does get kind of fingerprinty, which ruins the futurosity a bit, and you can't really take window cleaner to it because it spends the whole time opening and closing as you're using that rag, so I just got a little footie sock and hung it from a hook next to the thing so I could stick my hand in the sock and still trip the capacitance sensors and leave no marks.

The future requires me to wear a sock on my hand.

The future requires a slightly-grey footie sock on a hook.

But, but, but…well, shut up.

It's the future!
posted by sonascope at 8:01 PM on September 7, 2010 [12 favorites]


And for the record, on other matters of the future, I learned the hard way not to instinctively answer a Skype call when I'm using my netbook as a modern substitute for a magazine in the powder room.

"Jesus, Joe, are you on the toilet?"

"Umm, I'm not using it, I'm just sitting on the closed lid. With pants on."

"Sure you are. Gross."
posted by sonascope at 8:03 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


> The problem with the Freescale vision is that...

The problem I had with the Freescale vision is that it doesn't advertise anything Freescale is or will be doing. They're a semiconductor company. They're not the company that has to design and spec those hypothetical gadgets. They're not the company that has to figure out how to make totally see-through interface displays, build the account management and security infrastructure or portable user account protocols. They're not the company that has to design the UI, accessibility, i18n, marketing, and calculate salability of the things. Freescale's part in this brave new white steel and glass world is to build the chips. Apple, Sony, Microsoft, HTC, Samsung, and so on have to fulfill all the roles that don't directly involve building the chips.

It's like a portrait of the amazing future of medicine, brought to you by Kohler, manufacturer of fine lab sinks.
posted by ardgedee at 8:08 PM on September 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


sonascope, my main amp is a beomaster 4000. :)
posted by fake at 8:13 PM on September 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Mr. Anthropomorphism: "What happened to the X OF THE FUTURE motif as it used to be: wildly speculative, light on details, and brash with confidence?"

Disney's got that covered.
posted by Pinback at 8:17 PM on September 7, 2010


That book/tablet reminds me a lot of a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer. The whole thing had a real Diamond Age vibe to me, really. Cool video.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 8:23 PM on September 7, 2010


This is semi-off-topic, but I read a sci-fi book maybe 10-12 years ago that was about, among other things, the World Wide Web becoming sentient (in a good, motherly I-won't-let-you-blow-yourselves-up-darlings way, not like Skynet). What I found interesting about it, though, was the holographic+subvocal interface people used instead of flat tactile tablets or keyboards/mice. I also recall something vague about glowing subterranean worms or mold as a plot point.... I'd love to read the book again for old time's sake, and to see if I'm as impressed now with the future-tech predictions as I was then. But I can't recall the title or the author. If anyone knows what book I'm talking about, I'd love a pointer.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:30 PM on September 7, 2010


You know what's an awesome transparent interface that stimulates the imagination and drives creativity? A window.

Of course, the car of the future must have interactive displays in the headrests. God forbid the kid just stare out at the landscape passing by, and think.
posted by stargell at 8:40 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


You just downloaded the game in the car, but you happen to have a paddle controller waiting inside?
posted by droob at 8:47 PM on September 7, 2010


More on-topic, the high-tech predictions I'd like to see would involve technology adapted for developing or third-world countries, kind of like the glasses with fluid-filled lenses that everyone was briefly excited about a couple years ago, or the community cell phones for isolated villages that otherwise had no other convenient means of contact with the larger world. White middle-class people get fancier toys? Big whoop. Technology making a REAL difference in the lives of hundreds of millions of less-fortunate people? Cool, bring it on!
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:48 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, it does get kind of fingerprinty, which ruins the futurosity a bit, and you can't really take window cleaner to it

It's OK. Just windowcleaner your hand before touching it.

be glad I didn't verb Windex.TM
posted by zippy at 9:03 PM on September 7, 2010


Bao grunted at she returned the Virtual Intelligence's volley, a drop of sweat fell from her brow and neatly channeled away by her Infodeck's hydrooleophobic surface, diverted into a multibacterial fuel cell that was only just visible against the sapphire glass circuits of her 'deck. The 'bac would use her organic materials as fuel for generating electricty to power her Infodeck, a process that seemed to Bao like magic no matter how many times her ge-ge would explain it to her.

The cyberspace representation of the battlefield shimmered. She had chosen the United Chinese Affiliate's table tennis InfoSpace Paradigm, partially out of fealty to her father, who was the 2171 Table Tennis champion in the Old Olympics, back before the Indus Subcontinent Amalgamate had overthrown the Chinese in the sport, and partially because the table tennis Paradigm was one of the cheapest, and she couldn't afford anything much more expensive.

The VI appeared to grin -- processing attack vectors, Bao figured; checking manufacturer dates sniffed out from the nascent informatics of her deck; looking for weaknesses in her arco's netblock; who knows what else -- and sent a packet of data across the Infspace towards her home, represented as a whirling ping-pong ball with a wicked backspin on it, rocketing to her side of the net, to her family's networks!
posted by boo_radley at 9:26 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, did you notice? On the second one (vapid woman stares blankly at herself brushing teeth) the WORK item heads the list, HOME is subordinate.

Maybe that's why she's action:INVITING her family:HUSBAND and family:SON to event:DINNER.
posted by boo_radley at 9:30 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Freescale processors create doctors that are willing to put up with a mild fever inquiry at 7AM?
posted by cgomez at 10:35 PM on September 7, 2010


OK, "inviting" the family to dinner is pathetic, but seriously, I might almost be persuaded to allow RFID chips in my groceries if it meant I could access an inventory of my fridge and cabinets when I was out shopping. I have no memory for that stuff and I always end up forgetting the crucial spice or piling up 3 bags of flour or something.

Come on Freescale, implement that part already!
posted by rkent at 10:49 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think I've seen this before.
posted by outlandishmarxist at 10:49 PM on September 7, 2010


I believe all of it except the part where the doctor was available when she called. I think that is what is called medical science fiction.
posted by Cranberry at 11:06 PM on September 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Okay, here's the thing: WHO LOADS THEIR DISHWASHER BUT DOES NOT TURN IT ON, UNTIL LATER WHEN THEY'RE DOING SOMETHING UNRELATED IN ANOTHER LOCATION?

Seriously, who does this? I need to have an answer. Besides, I just had to snake the kitchen drain tonight because it clogged during a dishwasher run -- I'd hate to have not been home and to have the sink overflow.
posted by davejay at 11:13 PM on September 7, 2010


Oh, and the whole touchscreen thing is going to come fast. I don't even use an iPad, and yet when I picked up a Nook at the bookstore today to try, I was completely stymied as to why it wouldn't respond to touch until the guy pointed out there's a second, smaller touchpanel below. Which makes NO SENSE. If it's the size of a book and it has a screen, it damn well better have a touchscreen.

Sometimes I feel like I'm the only person left in the world who enjoys doing things by himself.

That's not true at all; there are lots of us who enjoy doing things by yourself.
posted by davejay at 11:16 PM on September 7, 2010


Now that I think of it, put a computer in my fridge. Let it take inventory of what's in there. When I ask it for a shopping list, let it list everything I used to have in there, but no longer do. When I ask it for a meal, let it tell me how many calories I should be eating, and recommend the foods (from the fridge) that I could eat to get 'em. Those are two things a computer can do better than I can.
posted by davejay at 11:19 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


rkent: ...I might almost be persuaded to allow RFID chips in my groceries if it meant I could access an inventory of my fridge and cabinets when I was out shopping. I have no memory for that stuff and I always end up forgetting the crucial spice or piling up 3 bags of flour or something.

I have this hopelessly outmoded old-school thing I do - I like to call it "planning ahead" - where I write down the things I need to buy. On paper. With a pen!! Geez, I know, right?

But hey, it works, and I didn't have to spend a bunch of money and learn a new interface to do it.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:22 PM on September 7, 2010


Of course, the car of the future must have interactive displays in the headrests. God forbid the kid just stare out at the landscape passing by, and think.

We just completed a two-week coast-to-coast roadtrip, including two five-year-olds. When we gave them movies to watch (on ipod) or games to play (nintendo ds, leapster) they were quiet, but they were also insufferable. When we put those away and I said "fuck it, three days left, entertain yourselves" they were cheerful, happy, engaged and fun. Of course, they were also loud as fuck and so desperately annoying.

I solved the problem in a low-tech way: whenever they got too loud, I just rolled down the windows. They screamed even louder (and had even more fun) with all the wind buffeting, and I couldn't hear them (over the wind buffeting) so it was win-win (wind-wind?)
posted by davejay at 11:22 PM on September 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


In the future, skiddies will be able to pwn your bathroom mirror and put a video of you taking a dump online after sending it to all your friends and coworkers.

Great! What's not to look forward to?
posted by Avelwood at 11:54 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


In the future I'll be able to blame skiddies for sending that video to my boss. Multiple times.
(also skiddies? ugh. can't we just call script kiddies hackers?)
posted by Peztopiary at 1:02 AM on September 8, 2010


Good god no. In the future, I pray that the bathroom has absolutely no computerized mechanisms more advanced than a thermostat. If we must compute from our most private chambers, let us do it the old fashioned way, with a laptop that's almost too hot to rest on bare thighs. I really don't want to stumble around nude and blind, searching for my glasses after a shower, and accidentally speed dial my boss on the video phone in my vanity mirror.

I tire of these clear glass things, too. I understand that it makes for fantastic movie shots - being able to see through the interface to the actor's expression is like five shortcuts in one - but it leads to tragedy in real life. Instead, I'd much prefer something opaque, with a side that can be covered or decorated. Not only does this make it easier to find, it's a whole new market for customization. Want to be a goth kid on your first day of highschool? Get your house's 3D printer to spit out a burgundy velvet bookcover with embossed silver crucifix. Stick it on, peel it off when it turns out the cowboys are the cool subgroup in school, and replace it with strawberry-scented cowprint. If we're going to be exploiting the whole idea of computer accessory as required lifestyle device, we have to make it subject to the whims of fashion. Clear glass is never going to work.
posted by Mizu at 1:55 AM on September 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


In the future you won't know you're ill until your bathroom mirror tells you? These are Eloi.
posted by itsjustanalias at 3:01 AM on September 8, 2010


I would like a gentle reminder (an entry on a checklist, not a repetitive beep from the machine) when the laundry is done and needs to be taken out of the machine. A grocery shopping list entry when certain things are done or old. Things like that.

But I'm afraid smart machines and smart packages will just spam us (it's coming from inside the house!) with messages embedded in the product-specific reminders by the manufacturers. "We see that you're almost out of Cap'n Crunch cereal, the most popular breakfast choice of [child's name]! Click Yes to get a new box now so [child's name] won't have to go to school sad and hungry. Click No to remind you of this important parental duty later today."
posted by pracowity at 3:09 AM on September 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Snarky comments:

Video 1: Computer technology will be so expensive that the family will not be able to afford any furniture for their home.

Video 2: WHERE'S MY MINORITY REPORT?!

Fun videos, though.
posted by The Deej at 5:32 AM on September 8, 2010


So where's the future part? Are the kids androids? clones? imaginary? Has society been destroyed and all is left is a simulacrum of humanity?
posted by blue_beetle at 5:40 AM on September 8, 2010


In the future, everyone's a fashion model (except the fashion models, who are virtual).
posted by pracowity at 5:49 AM on September 8, 2010


Eh, not so much.
posted by nj_subgenius at 7:36 AM on September 8, 2010


More real stuff along these lines from Qualcomm

The dilemma is that so many of these systems only work when you buy the components from the same company. You would think that after years and years of that failing, and proprietary standards being invented and discarded, they would avoid that. HDMI CEC for instance works great.
posted by smackfu at 7:58 AM on September 8, 2010


Hey, you know what's awesome? When my kids accidentally leave our french door fridge open, after a few minutes a distinctive little "beep" starts up (not entirely unlike a smoke detector with a dead battery, but unique and more frequent.)

Give me more of that kind of feedback. I don't need to telecommute while I shave, I just don't want my food to spoil.
posted by davejay at 11:50 AM on September 8, 2010


(also skiddies? ugh. can't we just call script kiddies hackers?)

No, because they are not hackers. A hacker is a clever and talented programmer. And in the software culture, it has positive connotations. On my less humble days, I describe myself as a hacker. And I've never broken into any system that I didn't have permission to. I regularly tell my colleagues that, "I'll be hacking on the GSM and then the accounting system today." By which I mostly just mean "programming" or "working hard".

We call people who violate computer security "hackers" because the people who initially discover vulnerabilities often are clever and talented programmers. You have to be bright to discover new attacks. And once upon a time, only the bright could violate computer security.

But we call script kiddies that, and not hackers, because they don't discover anything. Instead, they simply wait for more skilled people to package up new exploits into, you guessed it, scripts. These scripts can then be run against whatever targets they want until something finally sticks.

Calling a script kiddie a "hacker" is like calling a commuter an "automotive engineer".
posted by Netzapper at 6:23 PM on September 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


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