Feb 15, 2016 | By Alec

Over the past two decades or so, scientific development has really been speeding up at an incredible rate. From smartphone-controlled living conditions, to consumer 3D printers and an almost complete integration of life into the digital realm, you can wonder what the limit will be. One thing is for sure though, the 21rst century is going to be a very remarkable one. According to a new study by SmartThings, a Samsung subsidiary, the current innovation pace can result in truly SciFi-esque achievements – from 3D printed skyscrapers, ‘earthscrapers’ that go several stories into the ground, the colonization of the Moon and Mars, the creation of underwater cities and the complete integration of smart and drone technology in daily life.

It sounds unreal, but these are all possible scenarios according to the report ‘SmartThings Future Living Report’. Commissioned by SmartThings, it involved the input of a number of academic researchers and several lecturers from the University of Westminster, including future architects and urbanists. In part, these predictions are the logical consequence of how quickly the Internet-of-Things and smart technology are taking over human life.

The report's authors include Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, Els Leclerq and Linda Aitken, who are all very optimistic about the coming century. “Just 10 years ago, technology like SmartThings would have been inconceivable, yet today developments like this let us monitor, control and secure our living spaces with the touch of a smartphone. Over the next century we will witness further seismic shifts in the way we live and interact with our surroundings. Working on the SmartThings Future Living Report with a panel of industry experts has allowed me to explore what these could be,” said Dr Aderin-Pocock. “We are likely to see the emergence of towering megastructures as well as sub-aquatic cities and transportation via advanced flying drones – some of which could be strong enough to transport entire houses on holiday.”

Remarkably, 3D printing is especially seen as a technology that will reach maturity over the coming decades and start to play a significant manufacturing role. Of course several 3D printed home prototypes have already been realized, and they expect that this trend will continue to expand in size. While constructing a skyscraper can take years, they expect this time will be cut down significantly – as will the costs involved. The same can be said for 3D printed food, which is recognized as a technique for reducing waste and optimizing health. Though of course this also means that fast food could become even faster.

What’s more, especially in combination with robot technology, the futurists believe that 3D printing can also greatly reduce the risks involved for construction and factory workers. The entirety of production, in short, could become less human and less costly. This is especially the case in the hazardous environments which mankind is eyeing to colonize, they add. The Mission to Mars is already on the NASA agenda, and any sustainable living conditions there must surely be 3D printed on location. The same can be said for underwater cities that the current world population growth rate will necessitate. The robots won’t mind a lack of oxygen, and can even be powered by the sun itself.

But it’s not just construction and colonization we can look forward to. The medical world is already greatly benefitting from 3D printing innovations, and that trend is set to continue. The ultimate goal: health diagnosis pods that can diagnose any condition without the need to see a human doctor. Necessary drugs can be prescribed immediately, or you can be forwarded to a surgeon if necessary. Should a doctor’s opinion be needed, you can even just talk to him through a holographic projection – a technology that is also expected to be widely adopted.

This might be a bit much to take away from just the adoption rate of smartphones, but it is undeniable that technology innovation is speeding up considerably. “The smartphone revolution is already ushering in the smart home revolution, which will have massively positive implications on how we live. Our homes are becoming smarter and can now detect the presence of things like people, pets, smoke, humidity, lighting and moisture. And this is just the beginning,” argues James Monighan, the managing director of SmartThings UK. “Just as the technology driving the Internet has spread to smartphones and smart homes, the smart home revolution is destined to spread to larger communities and countries. By simply turning lights and heating off when we don’t use them, we can reduce emissions. By being able to better monitor and secure our homes, we can reduce crime. By better monitoring the habits of aging relatives, we help them to achieve greater independence and a higher quality of life.”

And it’s not just specialists that believe in fast adoption of futuristic technologies. As part of the study, 2,000 British adults were also asked about their thoughts of the future, and like a recent study on Dutch consumer ideas, they were very optimistic. About 26 percent believed that virtual activities, such as interior design, will become normal within the next decade, while 41 percent believed that flights to space would become a realistic holiday option. Only about 16 percent believed underground megastructures would become normal over the next few decades. But most expected are hologram meetings, which 48 percent of interviewed people saw as a realistic prospect. Does this mean Hollywood’s dystopian perspectives of the future aren’t realistic?

SmartThings Future Living Report highlights:

As city space becomes more squeezed, we will burrow deeper and build higher with the creation of:

  • Super skyscrapers: carbon nanotubes and diamond Nano threads will help us create towering megastructures that will dwarf today's skyscrapers
  • Earth-scrapers: just as we build up we will also dig down – huge structures will tunnel 25 storeys deep, or more
  • Underwater cities: are likely to become a reality – using the water itself to create breathable atmospheres and generating hydrogen fuel through the process
  • Personal flying drones replacing cars: some of us will be travelling skyways with our own personal flying drones, some strong enough to carry entire homes around the world for holidays

As technology develops, we'll see:

  • 3D printing of houses and furniture: we will be able to print exact replicas of large scale structures like houses out of local, recyclable materials so that we really can have all the comforts of home while we are away
  • Flexible, smart walls and 3D printed Michelin starred meals: smart walls will mean you won't need to decorate your home - LED room surfaces will adapt to suit your mood. When it comes to entertaining, there will be no more botched recipes or pizza deliveries – instead we will be downloading dishes from famous chefs that we will tailor to our personal needs. We will be able to 3D-print a banquet or a favourite cake in minutes
  • Virtual meetings: our working lives will be transformed with the use of holograms which will allow us to attend meetings virtually, without leaving the comfort our homes
  • Stepping into home medi-pods will confirm if you really are ill, providing a digital diagnosis and supplying medicine or a remote surgeon if needed

And finally, we will:

  • Colonise space: first the Moon, then Mars and then far beyond into the galaxy

The top ten predictions for future living:


Virtual work meetings – the ability to work from anywhere and attend meetings remotely via avatars/holograms



Commercial flights into space



Virtual interior decoration so that you can program your own surroundings/ LED walls that adapt your surroundings to your mood



3D printed houses/furniture/food - meaning you can download and print these things at home



At-home scanning capsules/pods that can diagnose health problems and administer medicines/treatments



Colonising other planets as we use up resources on Earth



AI becoming a normal part of daily life – taking over from humans in many industries



Giant skyscrapers that can house entire cities: the construction of which is allowed for by the development of new super strong materials



At-home hydroponic farms (that don't require soil) where you can grow your own food



Earth-scrapers – buildings that are built down into the ground, so entire cities are subterranean due to space constraints and also to provide further shelter





Posted in 3D Printing Technology



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Folatt wrote at 2/15/2016 2:02:56 PM:

Looks like people are looking at the past rather than the future. Space travel was done decades ago and it will still remain too expensive for most people in the coming decades. 3Dprinting on the other hand... just look at the newn here. We're in the middle of a revolution. Cheap personal medical scanners are part of the 3Dprinting revolution and AI not becoming part of daily life is laughable. Why do you think people stopped working in factories? And the first self-driving truck has already been invented.

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