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OP-ED: Past-present-future: Living in an automated world

PORTLAND, Ore. — When I was a kid, I was convinced my life as an adult would be something like the opening of “The Jetsons” cartoon.

With a push of a button, I’d be up and dressed for work. A push of another button and coffee would be brewed and breakfast served. A small army of robots would wash the dishes and then stack them in the kitchen cabinets – with none of the usual dishwashing required.

Briefcase and umbrella in hand – courtesy of more robots – I would slip into a nifty, backpack-like jetpack system that would allow me to rise above the ground and fly off to my job at an equally modern-day, automated workplace.

Fast-forward to that future, which is now my present. While we do have cars that you charge by simply plugging them into an electrical outlet, and smartphones that can help us organize our lives, I’ve still been a bit disappointed.

The closest I’ve come to seeing a house that can actually clean itself came courtesy of Francis Gabe. She invented a house in Newberg with sprinklers throughout – including some in the kitchen cabinets to wash dishes as they sat on the shelves.

As for systems that would give a user the ability to regulate almost every aspect of life within four walls with just the click of a mouse (or swipe of an iPad screen), they’ve basically been little more than promises for the future.

Until now.

In Scottsdale, Arizona, a company called Cypress Development Group is busy at work on a condominium community called The Sterling Collection at Silverleaf. The 213 luxury condos in the development all will come outfitted with a slew of new technologies that will create an automated living experience that, while not an exact replica of the life of George Jetson and his family, could come pretty darn close.

Each condominium will boast an entire-house system to control lights, heating and cooling, security, window coverings and even the entertainment system. The system will be accessed via iPads, remote controls and touch screens located throughout each condo.

While there’s no mention about wearable jetpacks stashed in the closets of the condo units, the development does offer a feature that’s almost as cool – an automated robotic valet system.

The system, created by a New Jersey-based startup called Boomerang Systems, will feature robot valets that tenants will be able to summon with a push of a button. With that, a homeowner can call for her vehicle, a request that sets in motion omni-directional, battery-operated robots and a guidance system that delivers vehicles to and from storage spaces.

The first 100 condominiums are slated for completion in 2016. Until then, doesn’t anyone happen to know where I can find one of those Jetson-type jetpacks?

Stephanie Basalyga is editor of the Daily Journal of Commerce. Contact her at 503-802-7222 or stephanie.basalyga@djcOregon.com.

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