Disney to revive "House of the Future"

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Bullwinkle
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Disney to revive "House of the Future"

Post by Bullwinkle » Feb Thu 14, 2008 11:17 pm

By GILLIAN FLACCUS, Associated Press Writer Wed Feb 13, 9:13 AM ET

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Millions of Disneyland visitors lined up a half-century ago to catch a glimpse of the future: a home teeming with mind-blowing gadgets such as handsfree phones, wall-sized televisions, plastic chairs, and electric razors and toothbrushes.

The "House of the Future," a pod-shaped, all-plastic dwelling that quickly seemed quaint closed its doors a decade later. Now Disney is set to open a new abode in Tomorrowland — this time in partnership with 21st century technology giants.

The 5,000-square-foot home scheduled to open in May will look like a normal suburban home outside, but inside it will feature hardware, software and touch-screen systems that could simplify everyday living.

Lights and thermostats will automatically adjust when people walk into a room. Closets will help pick out the right dress for a party. Countertops will be able to identify groceries set on them and make menu suggestions.

The $15 million home is a collaboration of The Walt Disney Co., Microsoft Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., software maker LifeWare and homebuilder Taylor Morrison.

Visitors will experience the look of tomorrow by watching Disney actors playing a family of four preparing for a trip to China.

"It's much different than a spiel that you would get at a trade show," said Dave Miller, director of alliance development for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts. "We won't get into the bits and the bytes. It will be about the digital lifestyle and how that lifestyle can help you."

The actors will be in a flurry of cooking, packing and picture-taking designed to emphasize cutting-edge features in the home's two bedrooms, living room, kitchen, dining room, study and back yard.

Much of the project will showcase a network that makes the house "smart" and follows family members from room to room — even adjusting artwork — to preset personal preferences.

When a resident clicks a TV remote, for example, lights will dim, music will shut off and the shades will draw as the network realizes a movie is about to start.

The system will allow residents to transfer digital photos, videos and music among televisions and computers in different rooms at the click of a button. Other applications still in development could include touch-screen technology built into appliances, furniture and countertops, said Joe Belfiore, Microsoft's vice president for entertainment services.

In the kitchen, for example, touchpad software on the countertop would be able to identify groceries and produce recipes and meal suggestions. Similar programs could turn a desktop into a computer screen, allowing residents to load photos, music or e-mail onto a cell phone by placing it on the desk.

Mirrors and closets could identify clothes and suggest matching outfits, complimentary colors or track what apparel is at the cleaners or in the wash.

The home will also feature new uses for devices that many visitors may already own, as well as technologies that are still five or 10 years down the road, said Mike Seamons, vice president of marketing at LifeWare, which makes home automation software.

"If people walk through there and say, 'I don't have anything in this house at all,' then we've totally failed," Seamons said. "We're not waiting for robots to happen in order for it to be a reality."

When it comes to aesthetics, designers decided to stray from the Jetsons-style House of the Future — an all-plastic cross design with four wing-shaped bays that appeared to float. The house was so tough that wrecking balls bounced off it when Disney ripped it down in 1967.

The new home will be made of wood and steel and finished in muted browns and beiges, said Sheryl Palmer, president and chief executive of Taylor Morrison in North America.

"The 1950s home didn't look like anything, anywhere. It was space-age and kind of cold," she said. "We didn't want the (new) home to intimidate the visitors. We want the house to be real accessible to our guests."

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Post by elizabethswann » Feb Thu 14, 2008 11:43 pm

I heard about that on the news yesterday and since I wasn't around for the last one, I would like to see how they'll do this version.

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Post by cap396 » Feb Fri 15, 2008 7:26 am

Wow. Sounds neat. Where will they put this attraction? Tomorrowland is already pretty full and there isn't much space left.

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Post by Esmeralda » Feb Sat 16, 2008 10:06 am

It looks interesting, but I'd rather they put an ecological spin on the new house of the future. Being green is real futuristic and something that I'd actually go see.
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Post by disneylandmom » Feb Sun 17, 2008 9:51 pm

I just read on another site that the "Innoventions Dream House" will be on the lower level of the Innoventions in May.

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Post by elizabethswann » Feb Sun 17, 2008 10:33 pm

disneylandmom wrote:I just read on another site that the "Innoventions Dream House" will be on the lower level of the Innoventions in May.
so that's why the first level is closed. i hope that's the case.

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Post by horizons1 » Feb Fri 22, 2008 7:41 pm

Is anyone else worried that the house of the future costs $15 million?
No one's gloomy or complaining while the flatware's entertaining.
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Post by DisBeamer » Feb Fri 22, 2008 8:57 pm

This sounds really neat. I love the old Monsanto track; actually I love any old 'look at the future' things. Those old movie shorts/newsreels about dishwashers popping up out of the counter and levitating, self-heating serving dishes 'through the power of electromagnetics!'? I could watch those all day long. I always wondered why, in the old Monsanto house, it was supposed to be a good thing that 'none of the materials appeared in anything like their natural state'. Like they say in Horizons, I guess... Looking back at Tomorrow. ;)

In this case though, it sounds like they could do some really cool stuff with existing/near future tech. Smart houses are fascinating, I think (setting aside the experience the Simpsons had with theirs...).
horizons1 wrote:Is anyone else worried that the house of the future costs $15 million?
Well I am now. :lol:
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Post by WishUponaStar » Feb Fri 22, 2008 10:04 pm

horizons1 wrote:Is anyone else worried that the house of the future costs $15 million?
haha, don't they all? :cry: I thought I read somewhere in a different article that they were trying to focus it on middle-class families. That would definately not qualify for the million dollar & up bracket. Although, if you think about it, back in the 50's they'd probably think WE were millionaires if they got a real glimpse of 2008. With all the multiple technologies we have in the average middle-class homes now; several computers in one home, large flat-screen LCD TVs, cell phones for every family member, high tech stereo systems, video screen remotes, MP3 players, etc.
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Post by saritajuanita » Feb Fri 29, 2008 12:51 am

While this sounds really interesting (finally, a reason to visit Innoventions for the first time in five years!), I rather wish they'd done something more dramatic visually, like the Monsanto house, which was like a mini-weenie for Tomorrowland. They're going to have to work to promote this future house if it's just going to be inserted into Innoventions. Very few people venture over that way (I think they still think there's just office space in there...).
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Post by subsonic » Mar Fri 14, 2008 1:39 am

WishUponaStar wrote:haha, don't they all? :cry: I thought I read somewhere in a different article that they were trying to focus it on middle-class families. That would definately not qualify for the million dollar & up bracket. Although, if you think about it, back in the 50's they'd probably think WE were millionaires if they got a real glimpse of 2008. With all the multiple technologies we have in the average middle-class homes now; several computers in one home, large flat-screen LCD TVs, cell phones for every family member, high tech stereo systems, video screen remotes, MP3 players, etc.
Well said, really, if you think about it on a broader scale, where I live, Los Angeles, a lot of houses here are close to the million dollar range. I also asking my father when I was around 13 years old, "Are you going to be a millionare?" he laughed and replied, "I'll never make a million dollars over my life time". I don't know if he ever did, maybe close. But I know I'll be able to make that (too bad not all at once) over my life time. Most people will.
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Post by SpaceyMounty » Mar Fri 14, 2008 2:25 am

Finally, something futuristic in tomorrowland! I'm excited.
The house would definitely have to be eco-friendly.
That's why I think Autopia should be hybrid or electric cars to really be from the future.
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Post by Captain Schnemo » Mar Sat 15, 2008 3:35 pm

Hybrid cars are like, soooo 20th Century. The Prius has been on the market for over a decade...doing something like that is putting them in Innoventions territory (ie, paying 75 bucks to see something you already have in your living room or is currently in your pocket). Well, I suppose unless it's a solar/fusion hybrid.

The electric car was invented in the 19th Century, so that's no better.

I like the maglev idea (even though it's 1980s era tech), because hovering is just cool and at least looks futuristic. They've got to start shocking us with their ingenuity again, not just giving us something we thought of years ago.

This house has potential, but I saw this
When a resident clicks a TV remote, for example, lights will dim, music will shut off and the shades will draw as the network realizes a movie is about to start.
in the 1950s! (Well, OK, I wasn't alive in the 50s, but I've seen the movie and bought the popcorn.)

They've got to hire some real visionaries, not just Microsoft consultants or the on-staff Imagineers who haven't seriously looked to the future in decades.

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Post by blinkereye123 » Mar Sat 22, 2008 4:59 pm

Hey all. I don't know about you, but I've always been fascinated with the concept of a house of tomorrow. And while I know at this point in time many of the ideas presented in the original HotF have come to pass in one form or another, (although I'm still waiting for that that wall-sized video phone I asked for), I guess it's just the idea of the future still having and "open-ended" possibility to it that has gotten lost.

Also as far as Disney is concerned, if there is any one entity that could present this future as still being viable, it's them. Let's just hope that if the new HotF comes about, it will hopefully bring back that sense of wonder to the future, today. Later, peace.

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Post by skipper » Mar Sun 23, 2008 2:48 pm

I would love to see this happen. I love that they are trying to revive some of Walts original ideas and themes.

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