The Future

I Want My Flying Car.

Something the future promised me I would have by the time I was an adult was a flying car. Back in the day we were all told that by 2010 people would have flying cars, and if you believed the Jetson’s cartoon, it would fold up into a briefcase that you could cary with you. I really want a flying car. Unfortunately I probably won’t get one for a while. It’s probably a good thing, since people seem more and more distracted behind the wheel of their cars today. I can’t imagine what would happen if people were texting and flying.

I can’t have a flying car, but I can dream, and thanks to the work of Renaud Marion I can have a flying car based on a timeless classic like a 196o Chevy El Camino, or a late 1950’s Jaguar. I love how this series of images resurrects timeless classic automobiles, and renders them in a way that the future promised.

mercedes Jaguar elcamino camero cadillac 70sMercedes

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The Future is Glass.

I always love the way companies see the future. When you look back at future predictions from the past it’s always a little humorous you know. I mean shouldn’t we all be flying to work in personal helicopters or using jet packs by now? The thing is, some of the predictions are pretty accurate. Not perfect, but a good reflection of where technology will take us. Back in the early 1960’s the prediction that we would all be using video phones by the 1980’s was quite popular. It didn’t happen in the 1980’s, but when you look at the number of people who use Skype, and Face Time on their computer and mobile phone; and now are using Skypeor other video phone technology on their flat panel TV you can see where that is starting to happen now.

Illustrator Fred McNabb's vision of the future in 1956. Hmmm Flat panel TV, Video Phone and Helicopter. Well Some of it came true. And is that the Disney "House of the Future" in the background?

This vision of the “Future”,  shows off future concepts with loads of  touch screen digital displays operating at the next level. It is the future by Corning, the guys who make the Gorilla Glass which is used on over 200 million mobile hand sets.You can see in the video that Corning wants the entire world to be an integrated always on touch screen experience. And they want every surface you come in contact with, to display loads of data and information seamlessly blending your physical and digital worlds together every waking moment of the day. This is where they are hoping to take multi-touch digital displays over the next few years, and as a glass company I’m sure they would love this. I’m not sure all of this will come to fruition, but I bet more than a little of it will.

Personally, I like the video because the perfect family in it lives in a really cool house.

Ford Times, and Houses of the Future.

It must be Monday that is making me all retro with the images I keep finding on the web. First the Japanese Monsters, now Ford’s vision of how we would all be living in the future. From “Ford Times” 6 images of Ford cars parked outside future structures. I’m not sure if there was a central theme, but I did notice round houses, carnival colors, and houses on water showed up more than once. I love how a number of these are in crazy National Park locations. “Hey guys I just built a new house inside Carlsbad Cavern, were having a swinging cocktail party tonight. Stop by for some booze and spelunking.”

2009, What a Year It Has Been, and What a Decade It’s Going to Be.

The 1956 House of the Future

Last New Year’s Eve if someone had walked up to me and told me all the things that were going to happen in the next 365 days to me, I would have laughed. Seriously. One year ago today I had no intention of moving from my Union Hill home of 10 years to Kansas City Kansas. I had no intention of buying a new car, or getting a second dog. The trip to South Africa was still in its infancy, and I had serious doubts about having the finances to make the trip. All of this did happen though, and it has made for a very interesting year. Well interesting last 6 months because literally all of this has happened since July.

I have to say that I am very grateful and thankful for how amazing 2009 has been for me personally. Many of my friends and colleagues have lost jobs, or had other personal set-backs in their health and finances. I have been lucky, and fortunate to not be in that situation. My heart goes out to those that haven’t been, and I wish for them a happy and prosperous 2010 and decade ahead.

I really believe that the next year and the next decade is going to be an explosive period of growth for everyone. The last ten years have seen phenomenal growth in technology and science, and in the last half of this decade design has once again been recognized as a major factor in shaping business growth.

In 1999, who would have thought that social media sites like Twitter and Facebook would have become major online gathering spaces for millions of interconnected end users? Not many. In 1999 the hottest things going were lengthy animated Flash intros for your website and online shopping experiences that didn’t suck. Things like convergence media were really just dreamy ideas that many thought unfeasible due to bandwidth and other technology issues. But as this decade closes out those dreamy ideas are rapidly becoming a reality.

Many people disagree with this, but by the end of the next decade the way you experience television, the internet, your phone, the dashboard of your car, and other devices will have changed completely. Verizon’s FiOs is a current example of the beginning of real integrated media. The widgets that run on your TV while you watch connect you to the internet. To things like Twitter, or your Fantasy Football league, so you can tweet, and check how your team is doing, all in real-time while what ever you are watching plays in the background. Blueray Live is another example of this. Who would have imagined ten years ago that you would be able to talk to the director of the movie you are watching via your DVD player? Not many, but Blueray live not only allows this, but much more, all because of the net connection on the player itself.

As these technologies continue to emerge and expand, their ubiquity will guarantee that media convergence is going to happen.

A scenario to think about goes something like this. You are driving in the family car with your kids. In the back seat your two children watch movies that are streamed via Netflix to your car. In the driver’s seat you use the integrated GPS unit to make sure you are going the right way, then you connect to your phone which is talking to the GPS. You call the hotel to make sure your room is ready. In the meantime your spouse sends a text message to the kids in the back seat, (They have headphones on and are engrossed in the movies) the text pops up on-screen telling them you’ll be at the hotel in 45 minutes. Each can reply via the touch screen monitor. After texting the kids, your spouse pulls up Twitter, tweets your trip status, pulls up Open Table, makes reservations for dinner, then with picture in picture loads a film on to the screen with the GPS giving navigation on the side. Using the chat widget your spouse also starts a chat session with friends in the town you are going to making plans for tomorrow’s fun. In the back seat, one of your children’s monitors receives a phone call via it’s paired phone, they touch the screen to answer, and the movie pauses…

This might sound a bit far-fetched, and the description is a bit over the top, but the reality is that much of this technology is available today in one form or another. The trick for the next decade is the seamless integration of all these technologies. Seamless integration that allows you to be connected to all forms of communication, entertainment, guidance, shopping, etc. at any given point in your day. And while it might seem odd to think of people actually wanting this and using this, 10 years ago it would have been hard to think of people shopping online from their smart phone.

So as 2009 rolls out, and  new decade rolls in I see amazing things in everyone’s future. As a designer, I am so excited the possibilities, and looking forward to all of it.