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A Tour of the Microsoft Home

Microsoft describes its home of the future like so:

Located on Microsoft Corp.'s Redmond, Wash. campus, the Microsoft Home is a concept facility that models technology that might enhance life at home five to 10 years from now. Microsoft uses the facility to research and test future consumer technology concepts and explore how people use technology in the home.

The Microsoft Home is housed within Microsoft's Executive Briefing Center. Although it's not a stand-alone house, the Microsoft Home simulates a domestic environment including a front door, entry/foyer, kitchen, family room, dining room, entertainment room and bedroom.

Although the technologies within it look to the future, the Microsoft Home is designed to look and feel very much like a sleek, contemporary home of today.

I've visited the Microsoft Home several times over the years, but they've recently upgraded it. Here's what the company says is coming down the road in five to ten years...

Part 1: Bus Stop and Home Entry

You access the Microsoft Home in the Executive Briefing Center (EBC) at Microsoft's Redmond campus.

The first stop is a virtual bus stop, which utilizes GPS to provide information about upcoming buses and local attractions.

We all got different smart phones, which were programmed for different types of people: The home owner (Jonathan Cluts, director of consumer prototyping and strategy at Microsoft), someone who had never visited before (me), and a known guest (Mary from Waggener Edstrom).

The housing complex's mailbox is "smart" and can tell you whether you have mail, plus what's going on in the neighborhood. It senses your presence via your phone.

Inside the house, a smart console responds to your phone, but also to voice.

An embedded display in the wall is hidden when you don't need it.

An interactive display replaces a static wall hanging. It can be programmed with any number of still images and animations.

Next: Part 2: Living Room

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