If you want to update your pad to be more futuristic, but you don’t have a gazillion dollars, there are some affordable toys that will get you there. Most of these gadgets and apps are a bit Jetson-esque—though many aren’t even from this year. Either way, they’re all things that you’ve probably thought to yourself—“why doesn’t my _____ do this, or why doesn’t it do _____?” At the least, these real world toys’ll help you resolve some of those mental tangents.
Remember how you always lose your keys? Your wallet? Your purse? Well, if you want to not be the hold up as everyone’s trying to get out the door and you have about twenty-five bucks, then The Tile App would be a good choice for you. It’s this little square that, yes, looks like a tile. It’s got a miniature speaker and a loop to tie onto keys, etc. Whatever you can fit it into/on, can be tracked through the Bluetooth signal from your phone. I think it’s pretty futuristic to not have to play a game of memory every time you leave the house. As their website says, “The world is big. Your keys, not so much.”
Yeah, this isn’t brand new—but if you want to have the Jetson-like crib we’re going for here, then this is a no-brainer. For $250, you can control the temperature at your place from anywhere in the world from your phone or through the slick-looking knob-like device. That part’s pretty simple, but it also promises to learn your habits and predict when in the day and in what season you’ll need specific temperatures. While it’s oddly reminiscent of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Nest fortunately doesn’t have an eerily monotone voice to unnerve you—nor does it control your life support systems. That said, it’s cousin, the Nest Protect monitors smoke and ambient CO2, so maybe it’s closer to HAL than we think!
There are also a host of other apps that do relatively similar things. The Insteon Hub App, for example, connects to lights, thermostats, wall plugs, etc. You can also automate lights, get alerts from motion sensors, and (slightly creepily) watch from the cameras that you’ve installed around your house. Which, of course, you’ve already done.
This isn’t just for the film-buffs anymore. Projectors are becoming big business, and allow for massive screens inside or outside your house. While there are plenty of professional-grade ones that run into the thousands, the BenQ W1070 is less than $800 and can project up to 200’’ of full HD quality footage. I don’t have the scratch for one myself, so I can’t recommend one, but they all look pretty cool, and I’m guessing it has more to do with your disposable income and just how badly you want to be a Jetson.
If you don’t have the financial means to pick up a massive projector, there are still some other, smaller futuristic items. I bought the Sony clock/projector/radio/sound machine. It all comes in a slick little boxed design that’s so benign that it doesn’t clash with my antique furniture. It’s $60, but the actual clock projection is great. It’s not too bright, but is crystal clear, right above my bed so I know exactly when the kids are crying—even if I don’t know which one. (Perhaps another idea for futuristic devices?) It also has a great series of sounds, including a great one with waves that is variant enough to honestly remind me of how I slept in my last house, which overlooked the waves on a beach in Peru… anyway, on to next topic.
While they call themselves the “world’s smartest light,” I just think it’s cool that it can follow the beat of the music on your phone… it’s like being at a rave whenever you want! (Though when I put it that way, it doesn’t sound so great). These light bulbs can also be programmed to do a lot of custom stuff. One of their big sellers is a simulated sunrise as the light slowly goes on. I guess a simulated rooster crow would be the next step, right?
There’s two systems which both look rather Jetson-esque. And while the sales teams for both would disagree—the Goji and the Lockitron seem pretty comparable. Lockitron is about $180, and is a bit simpler, but allows you to lock/unlock your door remotely with your phone. You can also set it to unlock as you and your phone get within a certain distance of the door. Goji does largely the same thing, but with some more bells and maybe a whistle or two. It has a Nest-like black knob that welcomes you via visual recognition. It also has a camera, which can log entrances/times, etc. (great for spying on your teenagers when you’re out of the house). These packages start at $280 for the lock and knob interface, and the fobs start at $40.
While I’m sure that many more companies will take this leap in the coming years, LG has made a step into smart appliances that even chat. You got it right—as if your thumbs weren’t tired enough from texting everyone on your phone, now you can text your fridge as well. (The ad shows off someone asking his fridge how many cold ones are still in there… crucial). So far, HomeChat (as the chat function is called), allows you to check in on AND remotely control your fridge, washer, dryer and oven. I’m sure these all cost thousands of dollars—but that’s like the cherry on the cake for George Jetson.
There’s a bunch of other apps and gadgets that do plenty of other cool stuff, but I think we’ve covered all the essentials of Jetson-ifying your pad. With what’s above, you can pretty much control the entire house from your phone. There are also several similar apps for your car—now if they could only make one for your kids, we’d be set. These devices, though, make your life significantly easier and WAY trendier, for not all that much cash (save the new appliances and the projector). Here’s to living like the Jetsons!