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The Wired Kitchen

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Want to just walk into your kitchen, say, "Tea, Earl Grey, hot," and relax while your fabulous electronic gadgets produce your desired beverage in a lovely china cup? Too bad. Even rich people aren't living the Star Trek life. Yet.
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Dateline: Beverly Hills

Just about everything I know about the future becoming the present I learned from watching Star Trek and The Jetsons.

In 1968, Kirk posed a question to this thing that he addressed as "Computer," and, sure enough, it responded with the answer to his question. Bones talked to Jim via his "communicator," and Spock's "tricorder" provided detailed analytic data of the surrounding environment. Today, any one of us can talk to a computer via telephone, many of us have PDAs, and cell phones do just about everything that Star Trek's communicators did (save the ability to get a decent beam up on request). MRI machines even tell us just about anything we want to know about the anything that we pass through the MRI.

On the Jetsons side of the fence, Jane had her robot and completely automated, buttonized kitchen, while George was still hounded by his boss, Mr. Spacely. (Some things never change.)

So, when my bosses at InformIT caught my pitch to do an article on the wired kitchen, I thought that the roadmap was set. All I had to was to go where the TV shows of future past took me. I sort of figured that the ability to assemble molecules out of thin air in order to make a luscious soufflé was still beyond our technological grasp. But I was sure the ability to fire up the microwave, put the dishwasher into heavy clean mode, and turn up the refrigerator in my kitchen from anywhere on the planet was more a matter of money than technology.

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