With all this IT, where's the HI?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Insulin Junkie, May 15, 2009.

  1. Insulin Junkie macrumors 65816

    Insulin Junkie

    May 5, 2008
    Mainland Europe
    Recently I've reflected a bit on the current state of both IT and HI (home informatics) after reading some of the book Women and Computers by Anna Frances Grundy & John Grundy.


    After reading excerpts like these I'm left wondering why indeed, in an industry where IT is progressing at a fast rate that makes yesterday's computers and operating systems seem jurassic, the way most household appliances work is similar if not identical to the way they worked when they were first devised and no such process can be observed when it comes to making work at home easier.

    I'm wondering why the industry isn't falling over itsself to present people with technology that enables ovens and other household appliances to be turned on and regulated from an application for a handheld device e.g. mobile phone, for example. Or why people aren't falling over themselves to produce something like a robotic butler, or even just more machines like electric can openers to make housework easier. Minus a few half-hearted and ill-implemented attempts at AI vacuum cleaners, the field of HI seems to be stuck at gutter level when compared to that of IT. :


    Any thoughts on this? As for me, I'd sure like to see that branch of the technology industry catch up with its other branches. The money's there, the target audience is there, where's the innovative implementations?
  2. Signal-11 macrumors 65816


    Mar 23, 2008
    2nd Star to the Right
    Yo. I'm of the opinion that this book is more of an academic tract than anything else. You pick an argument, then you pick it apart, add some references and stitch it back together again. Wear blinders at all times and stay narrowly focused on the argument, ignoring what intrusions reality makes.

    Back to your question, the products do exist, you just don't see them being sold wherever you are. For example, LG and Samsung make refrigerators that will, among other things, tell can email you when you're running out of eggs and when you should go out for more milk. In Korea and Japan, fully automated toilets with built in bidet and blow dryers are becoming a norm in new, high end apartments. A few months ago, I bought my mother a rice steamer than can have it's cook timer remotely delayed.

    If you remember, Be Inc (RIP) further doomed itself by betting its marbles on BeIA - internet enabled appliances. Unfortunately, the world was not ready.

    As for why designs don't change for the simple stuff, it's because it is simple. Cars have 4 wheels because that's what works. 3 wheel and 4 wheel solutions aren't worth the effort. You try to come up with a mechanically and electrically simpler toaster. It's a good design.
  3. pilotError macrumors 68020


    Apr 12, 2006
    Long Island
    Ever have a home appliance with a CPU in it? So far the logic board in my Washing machine has gone twice, my oven needed firmware updates on at least 3 separate occassions and my Dryers sensors occassionally get funky and can't detect when the clothes are dry so it shuts off and error's with wet clothes in it.

    Seriously, If I can avoid appliances with chips in them, I do. When I was a kid, my parents had washers/dryers that they bought when they were married and the only thing wrong with them was the occassional belt breaking or a little rust from being 30 years old. I doubt my appliances are going to last 10.

    Home automation is another ploy to charge more for substandard products. So far, they haven't bothered to apply and real technology to appliances to solve vibration or humidity, even though there are proven technologies out there already.

    Seriously, did you need your Fridge telling you when the diet coke was low or the mayo is running out?

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