The house of the future where every surface is a touchscreen

Openarch homeShakespeare may have said “all the world’s a stage,” but as far as Spanish designers are concerned, all the walls are a screen.

It may prove difficult to switch off from all your social media updates but, for internet addicts, it may just be the dream house.

The system, called Openarch, has been created by the Think Big Factory, a design agency in Spain.

It works by using projectors and sensors already available to turn walls, and even floors, into interactive screens. The prototype uses sensing cameras like Microsoft’s existing Kinnect, to track users, meaning they can simply swipe the air to move through menus.

You can look at Facebook updates and see your friends in real-life size during video chats. It means you can talk to your other half while in bed or see colleagues on another side of the world as if they are with you in the conference room.

Openarch houseShopaholics will be able to see clothes in actual-size, getting a better idea of what they will truly look like.

You can turn your entire bedroom wall into an alarm clock if you have trouble getting up in the morning or control your music collection through gestures.

The aim of the project is to do away with the slew of tablets, keyboards and remote controls needed to interact with modern-day technology.

But Ion Cuervas-Mons, the firm’s director, said the technology was some way off being available on the mass market. He said while the hardware was now complete, only around 40 per cent of the software was finished.

Explaining the concept, he said: “Everything in the house can be used to communicate, the interface is ubiquitous. Through projections that are activated by the presence of a person, we can control everything with the movement of the hands: the lights; turning on any electrical household appliances; music, even connecting to Skype for a conference from any part of the house.”

With a main interface set up in the living room, users will be able to see social networks, magazines and play music using only gestures.Experimental home

But while the technology will be available throughout the home, Cuevas-Mons said much of it would be invisible or, at least, unobtrusive.

“I don’t think that an Openarch home is going to look any different. New technologies must be non-intrusive and natural.”

Experimental home picThe firm has set up an experimental apartment, in the North of Spain, which has a resident who is “using some parts of the house,” says Cuevas-Mons, “and we are learning from that”.

On its website, the firm says: “The digital layers includes a series of components that allow users to stay connected to anyone or any place; control the house’s components by the movement of the body, hold conferences from home; know the power consumption at any time; activate any electrical household appliance from work; share a live video of your cooking recipes with the rest of the world; create your own TV set in the lounge, and so on.”

Impressive stuff indeed – the only problem may be you won’t be able to wear your pyjamas while working from home if you have an actual-size conference call scheduled with the boss.

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