Fast Company

How We'll Navigate A New Connected City Of Tomorrow

Feces as fuel, collapsible cars, and talking sidewalks--here's how your routine will look once some top companies, labs, and universities have had their way.

7:30 A.M. RISE AND SHINE
You wave a hand to kill the alarm and check the weather and Twitter--on your wall. Design firm Think Big Factory's Openarch smart home pairs gesture control with digital displays.
Coming Soon

7:42 A.M. TEND TO THE PLANTS
Sensors in the Openarch home also keep tabs on functions around the house. When it tells you your indoor Windowfarms gardens are parched, you trigger its watering system to provide a drink.
Ready Now

7:48 A.M. GO TO THE LOO
That guilt you felt about your waste being wasted? Gone. Scientists at the Netherlands's Delft University of Technology created microwave-based tech that converts excrement into electricity. Now your number twos power the house.
Years Away

8:25 A.M. HEAD TO WORK
A big morning decision: your commute. Since your IBM Smarter Cities universal transit fare card is accepted by trains, buses, tollbooths, and garages, you can travel any way you want. You opt for the bus.
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9:07 A.M. FRESHEN UP
More power from the bathroom. As you scrub your hands at work, an ES Pipe Waterwheel connected to the sink generates energy for the office.
Years Away

11:07 A.M. AVOID THE BLUES
Despite IT issues, your disposition is sunny. Credit the Fraunhofer Institute of Silicate Research in Germany. It created a thin window coating that transmits more vitality-boosting sunlight coming into your office.
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11:48 A.M. LOG FACE TIME
As you end a long-distance brainstorm conducted via Anybots's roving teleconferencing robot, you realize how little you miss in-person meetings.
Ready Now

12:20 P.M. GRAB A WANDERING BITE
Another big decision, lunch, is simplified when you get a ping from MatchingMarkets, an MIT Senseable Cities Lab project. It says that one of your favorite food vendors, who totes a GPS unit on her cart, is in the area.
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2:26 P.M. STAY SHARP
Okay, okay, you'll sit up! Because your monitor has a Philips ErgoSensor, you get berated by beeps anytime your posture slumps to a suboptimal position. Which is most times.
Ready Now

4:43 P.M. UNFOLD A TEMP CAR
You need to run errands on the way home, so you grab a shared Hiriko (Japanese for "urban car") from a kiosk near work. MIT's Media Lab designed the electric two-seaters to shrink from 8 feet long down to 5, so three mini-cars can fit into one parking space.
Ready Now

5:31 P.M. LEARN THE AREA
Across town, a pal uses his phone to tap into Bluetooth- and Wi-Fi-enabled iPavement paving stones that broadcast local info. The underfoot bricks mention a 3-for-1 happy-hour deal. Your friend texts you and suggests meeting for drinks.
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5:45 P.M. LISTEN TO THE CAR
Rather than use a map to get to the bar, you input the address into your haptic steering wheel. The product, from AT&T Labs, guides by nudging the wheel left or right.
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6:22 P.M. RESTOCK THE FRIDGE
Your last stop before that 3-for-1 bonanza is the grocer. Kiosks from Intel and Frog Design display store specials and your buying history. Boy, you sure do love Klondike bars.
Pie in the Sky

6:51 P.M. COMMENCE HAPPINESS
You have a big day tomorrow, so it's a good thing your discounted drinks are made with synthetic alcohol from Imperial College London. It is chemically similar to Valium and doesn't produce a hangover.
Years Away

Illustration by Radio

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2 Comments

  • K.D Williams

    Good article. The only concerns I have are with eventual complacency and laziness. If machines and algorithms are doing much of the heavy lifting, where we go where we supposed to without much of a problem, what effects will that have on creativity, serendipity and flexibility?