Better Living Through Technology: 2014’s Greatest Home Innovations (So Far)

Technology is advancing at an exponential rate and so, seemingly, are our problems. Smart home technology, for example, has allowed homeowners to control everything in their home from a single tablet – but what if you’re watching that Nicki Minaj video on the tablet and, just when your wife comes home, the video crash-freezes mid-frame when she’s on all fours, and you have to quickly shove it under the couch cushions, and then your wife walks in and she’s had a hard day and when she plops down on the sofa, there’s a horribly audible crunch of smart tablet? I mean, yeah, obviously it’s all technology’s fault that that happened. But can technology fix, or better yet, prevent it?

Maybe. Lucky for us, some of the sharpest minds on the planet are working on making our homes friendlier, more beautiful, and more efficient, and they’ve come up with ingenious and, in some cases, borderline miraculous solutions to some of our modern problems. And because it can be hard to keep up with the dizzying pace of progress, I’ve compiled a list of the breakthroughs with the most potential. So, without further ado: behold the future …




Remember on New Year’s Eve when Anna was doing the “Gangnam Style” dance and slipped on your Pottery Barn throw rug and hit her head on the marble and now she talks like Sylvester Stallone? How about that time during lovemaking when your husband went to go get the tarp, and as he was running gleefully back to bed, he got a half-inch splinter from your reclaimed hardwood floor wedged under his big toenail, which sent him screaming to the bathroom before you even got a chance to do that thing you like so much? What if I told you that there’s a new hyper-modern solution to these problems?

This bleeding-edge technology uses powerful industrial glue, as well as large tacks, to permanently affix carpet to the floor. That’s right – total coverage, from wall to wall. Never worry about slipping or cold feet again! It comes in all kinds of colors, lengths and even patterns. (If there’s one thing that never gets old or passe, it’s a pattern!) And if you spill something on it, or your pet soils it, that’s okay – with the patented Ethiopian Landlord Method ™, dirty carpet is easily dealt with by simply putting another layer of new carpet right on top of it! My Ethiopian landlord uses this method in my apartment, and it’s worked just fine so far, even though my ten foot ceilings are down to, like, seven-and-a-quarter because of the approximately fifteen layers of carpeting he’s put in over the years. A few more outbreaks of feline incontinence in here and my head’s going to be brushing the ceiling.



Man, you were doing so good. Eleven years sober, good job, stable relationship. Then one day as you were pre-washing your dirty dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, you stopped and were like, “wait a second, am I really standing here washing dishes before putting them in a machine that will wash them again? And I’m supposed to believe that life isn’t just an endless parade of futile absurdity?!” Flash forward a week or so, and you’re smoking white powder out of a broken lightbulb out behind an abandoned elementary school. And I can’t even blame you. The whole dishwasher thing is sort of ridiculous. Add to that, the fact that it uses like ten thousand gallons of water per second (all numbers approximate), and it’s tough to justify. Luckily, scientists have invented a new, analog dishwasher.

A series of bristles bonded to an ergonomic handle, this manual dishwashing device will do everything your dishwasher did, with a fraction of the water and none of the “WTF” factor. Merely squirt soap onto the dishes in question, and scrub. Yes, it’s sort of unpleasant and primitive, but so is Crossfit, and this won’t even give you thighs the size of boat pontoons. Plus, science has shown that this sort of minimally-engaged busywork can spur creative thinking, for the same reason you always get your best ideas in the shower. Man, if only you had this three years ago, maybe you would’ve come up with a better name for your kid than “Galaxy.” Seriously, what were you thinking.



Man, is there anything more annoying than a dropped call? Or how about those all-too-frequent blown-out calls where you can only understand a fraction of what the other person is saying, so you keep saying, “yeah, uh huh” when they pause, and then later you find out that you agreed to man the “Deep French Kissing Booth” at your office’s upcoming fundraiser? Oh yeah, what about when you have to buy a $6.95 Fierceberry Kardashichino just so you can plug your phone charger in for ten minutes, because your iPhone died just as you received a text from that guy you like. (And then when you finally get your phone turned on again, it just says “k.”)

Well, what if I told you that scientists have come up with a phone that requires no battery, no charging, and offers crystal clear call quality with zero dropped calls? Yeah, it’s true. Once the Hubble space telescope and the Large Hadron Collider were out of the way, it was only a matter of time before science got around to making a decent phone. And here it is. It uses physical wires to carry signals to and from the phone – and before you say, “oh, a new network, I bet coverage sucks then,” let me tell you that these wires are already everywhere. Like, literally everywhere. Look out your window. I have no idea how they got them all put up so fast, I guess they must have serious money backing them. As an added bonus, the phone only works when it’s physically connected to the network, so it stays in your house. That’s right, next time your boss is like, “hey, why didn’t you come in early, I called you,” you can honestly say that you were out and didn’t get the call. The guy might never have spelled “Microsoft Excel” the same way twice, but he can always tell when you’re lying – now you won’t have to! I’m telling you, there’s no downside to this.

Rumor has it that scientists are also working on a device that will answer this phone when you’re away, and allow the other person to leave an audio recording for you to listen to you when you get home. Those are just rumors though, and I can’t comment on rumors, I’m a serious journalist.



Watching television makes you stupider; it’s a fact. Have you ever been around a group of guys as they watch “The Big Game”? There’s clearly a 40% reduction in I.Q., effective immediately. And it’s bad for you, too: excessive television viewing is associated with everything from heart disease to diabetes. Plus, having a living room that’s oriented around a huge television is the aesthetic equivalent of having frosted tips and wearing a shirt with Olde English font and flames on it.

The problem is, television is entertaining. That’s why we like it so much. How many times have you been like, “I can totally handle the big presentation on three hours of sleep, I’ll go ahead and finish out this season of ‘Game of Thrones’!” Yeah, that’s why you’re still in the office that shares a wall with the bathroom – it’s television’s fault! But after years of research, scientists have finally come up with something to counteract these evil effects: nothing.

Just look at the nothing in that picture! I mean, there’s just nothing there. Nothing at all. Put it where your television used to be and sit back on the sofa. You won’t even make it ten minutes before you get antsy. “But wait,” you’ll say. “There’s no nudity, no punchlines, no twist endings. This sucks!” Yes, that’s the point! Even the most underwhelming television show is something – this is nothing. You’ll be drowsing off at like 9:30. Imagine how much better you’ll feel in the mornings; you’ll be fresh, articulate, smarter, and you’ll look five years younger, i.e. people might not believe you when you claim to be 32, but they won’t reflexively laugh in your face and then quickly pretend they were just coughing. Seriously, consider orienting your family room around a big nothing – now available everywhere, at a low cost of free.

One response to “Better Living Through Technology: 2014’s Greatest Home Innovations (So Far)

  1. Franklin,
    Please… get help! Or, maybe just try taking your meds? You could always call me before you hit the “Publish” button, it works, it really does.

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