Friday, April 18, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Smart houses may mean better health

By
From page HS4 | November 15, 2013 | 1 Comment

I just toured a home so smart it tells you when you’re being stupid. And here I thought that’s what my teenagers were for.

The prototype smart home offers a peek at what’s to come. Hint: houses that talk back. Their mission is to help you eat right, exercise more and take better care of yourself.

Being that I am both a health reporter and a home design columnist, the idea of a home that helps you stay healthy hit the bullseye on my interest target.

But then terror hit.

Do I really want a mirror that tells me the truth? NO! Or a refrigerator that tells me to eat this not that? SHUT UP!

Intrigued, I walked right in.

“The idea was to design a home that uses technology to help those living in it be healthier,” said Michael Voll, vice president of Dais Technologies, the company behind many of the Intelligent Home’s smart features. Voll led me through the futuristic model, which is in Lake Nona, Fla., a growing health-centric community in Southeast Orlando.

The house represents big-time thinking from big-time companies like Johnson & Johnson, General Electric, Cisco, Ashton Woods Home, Canyon Ranch and others. Together, they hope to reduce not just Americans’ waistlines, but also the $3 trillion a year this country spends on health care, 70 percent of which we bring on ourselves because of lousy lifestyles.

“Health starts at home,” said Voll. We start in the kitchen. There, a color-coded refrigerator and pantry offers a low-tech way to make healthier food choices. A digital cookbook calls up recipes based on what ingredients are in the house. No eggs? No omelets.

“It knows?” I asked wide-eyed.

“New kitchen technology helps with healthy, convenient meal planning,” Voll said.

I flash on a vision of my future relationship with my freezer.

“Do you really need that?” My freezer asks as I reach for the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

“Yes, actually. I do.”

“Shouldn’t you have a lower-sugar, lower-calorie alternative?”

“Look, you don’t know what my day has been like. Plus, I haven’t had dessert in three days. Can we negotiate?”

“I saw you eat that cupcake yesterday.”

“If you’re going to give me a hard time, I’ll just move onto the pantry and you know how many trans fats are in there.”

“No! Not the trans fats!”

“Not only that, but high-fructose corn syrup!”

“All right, all right, but only 4 ounces, deal?

“Deal.”

Next we head upstairs where a full-length, interactive mirror gives out like-it-or-not feedback, along the lines of, “Bob, looks like you’re up a few pounds and your blood pressure is high. Better hit the treadmill and up your diuretic.”

“We want to program homes so they make people healthier by giving them information that makes healthier choices easier,” Voll said.

“Let me get this straight,” I said, fairly horror stricken: “You stand in front of a mirror that tells you how much you weigh, even when you’re fully dressed and have just eaten three slices of Lou Malnati’s pizza?”

Voll is awkwardly silent.

“I’d rather walk on burning barbed-wire barefoot.”

He then wisely moves beyond the subject of weight and runs through a series of options on the giant touch pad, where he can call up dozens of exercise routines from free weights to indoor cycle to yoga. While he amuses himself, I glance around for the inevitable ugly hardware — the black boxes, cords, remotes, monitors — that tends to accompany technology.

“Where’s the icky-looking stuff?”

“You won’t find it,” Voll said. “The technology is invisible and ambient.”

“Rats,” I said. There went my last good excuse not to like it.

Brace yourself. Here are some of the healthy home features and technologies that may be coming to a future near you:

  • Mirror, mirror on the wall.  A look in this full-length, interactive mirror tells you not just if your slacks are wrinkled, but also your blood pressure, weight, BMI, hydration level, pulse oxygen level and, oh, when your next doctor’s appointment is. Tailored to each family member, the mirror serves as a personal health coach. (Joe, you’re down two pounds. Way to go, buddy!) It can probably even do a vet check on your pets.
  • Personal trainer.  The same mirror can then turn into your personal trainer, helping you track your workouts and see how you’re doing compared to your fitness goals. Some of the workout sessions videos have famous athletes leading you through routines. Afterward your automated coach will let you know how you did: “Sue, that was your best yet!”
  • Color-coded pantry. Different colors of tape bordering shelves in the pantry and refrigerator offer an easy way to help family members reach for healthier choices. Items on the green shelf are for healthiest any-time foods; those on the yellow-coded shelf should be eaten in moderation, and items on the red — and hardest to reach shelf — make you think again. For those on special diets or with allergies, one shelf could be coded in blue for low-sodium or nut-free foods.
  • No more excuses. A GE Advantium oven speed cooks food up to seven times faster than a regular oven, eliminating one more excuse (not enough time) for not cooking at home. Advantium technology cooks the outside of the food like a conventional oven, with radiant heat produced by halogen bulbs above and below food, so it browns. The halogen heat gets a boost of microwave energy, so foods also cook evenly and fast. Breaded fish filets that would take 30 minutes in a conventional oven, are done in 4 1/2 minutes. Faster cooking means fewer fast-food meals, which leads to better control over the family’s nutrition.

Syndicated columnist and speaker Marni Jameson is the author of “House of Havoc” and “The House Always Wins” (Da Capo Press). Contact her through marnijameson.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

  • Fran DuchampNovember 17, 2013 - 12:56 pm

    Who will the smart houses like best...renters or owners. It is projected that "renters" will go up--many of the younger crowd like to travel and move around...they dont want to be tied down to one place. "Tourism" the double edged sword. The whole world wants people to move around --spend their money..become nomadic "a restless mobile society" (as long as one has money.)

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

News

Sanford trial: Prosecution, defense rest

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Woman, dog back from Oso

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A1, 7 Comments | Gallery

 
Goodbye LUPPU, hello LRPU

By Chris Daley | From Page: A1, 2 Comments

Past due state taxes bring arrest

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1, 6 Comments

 
 
 
DA candidate to remain on ballot

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A9

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: Benji and the Bickersons

By Matthew Margolis | From Page: A10

 
CPCSD seat unfilled

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A14, 1 Comment

Lew Uhler backs Ranalli

By News Release | From Page: A14, 2 Comments

 
.

Letters

Bicycle events and traffic control

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7, 2 Comments

 
Evacuation

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7, 3 Comments

District 4 candidate

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7, 6 Comments

 
Open meetings

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7, 5 Comments

Volunteers and homeless camps

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7, 13 Comments

 
.

Sports

Jennings wins national title

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A11, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Savannah Stephens can swing the bat

By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A11 | Gallery

King of the West roars into Placerville

By Gary Thomas | From Page: A11

 
First and goal: Bunt etiquette

By Mike Bush | From Page: A11

Oak Ridge suffers tough 2-1 setback

By Mike Bush | From Page: A11

 
Roundup: April 17, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A12 | Gallery

.

Prospecting

Plantastic sale this Saturday

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Spring art brightens government center

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Things to do: April 18, 2014

By Democrat Calendar | From Page: B2

 
Time out: A grand time at Grand China

By Earle Camembert | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Temple Kol Shalom hosts Passover Seder

By News Release | From Page: B3

 
Student art featured for Third Saturday

By News Release | From Page: B3

Promenade in high style

By Historic Old Sacramento | From Page: B4

 
Sac State Presents ‘Gypsy’

By California State Unversity, Sacramento | From Page: B4

Friday nights are engaging at the de Young

By Fine Arts | From Page: B5

 
Hats On For the Kids raises money for children

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B6

See what is inside the vault

By Center For Sacramento History | From Page: B6

 
Eggstravaganza

By Fairytale Town | From Page: B6

Gallery tips a hat to Dr. Seuss

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B7

 
Museum presents ‘Diesel Days’

By California State Railroad Museum | From Page: B7

Engagement: Adam Frega and Wednesday Bienusa

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B8

 
Duty: Air Force Airman Brian Polk

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B8

Cal Stage presents a season of challenging productions

By California Stage | From Page: B8

 
Duty: Army Pfc. Kyle W. Beasy

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B8

KVIE calls for artists

By Kvie | From Page: B9

 
A Couple of Blaguards tell tales

By Harris Center for the Arts | From Page: B9

America’s ClayFest II celebrates a rich history

By Blue Line Arts | From Page: B14

 
Easter at Northstar is family friendly

By Northstar California | From Page: B15

Fine Arts Museums feature two shows

By Fine Arts | From Page: B15

 
See wildflowers on train ride

By Railtown | From Page: B15

.

Essentials

Crime Log: March 28-30

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

 
.

Obituaries

Arthur W. Cornell

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
Frank “Bud” Kraus Jr.

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Roy Cluness Chaix

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
Frederick Wilbur Heymann

By Contributor | From Page: A2

.

Real Estate

Faster sales with spring staging

By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS4

 
Coldwell Banker outsells the competition

Press Release | From Page: HS7

Handsome Redmond suits modern families

Press Release | From Page: HS11

 
Growing your own

By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS14

 
Fraud workshop scheduled

Press Release | From Page: HS21

HCD launches assistance program

Press Release | From Page: HS22, 1 Comment

 
EZ Mortgages Inc. opens Placerville office

By News Release | From Page: HS22, 2 Comments

.

Comics

TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A13

 
Sudoku

By Contributor | From Page: A13

Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A13

 
Working It Out

By Contributor | From Page: A13

Shoe

By Contributor | From Page: A13

 
Rubes

By Contributor | From Page: A13

Tundra

By Contributor | From Page: A13

 
Horoscope, Sunday, April 20, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A14

Horoscope, Saturday, April 19, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A14

 
Horoscope, Friday, April 18, 2104

By Contributor | From Page: A14

New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A14

 
.

Home Source

Faster sales with spring staging

By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS4

Coldwell Banker outsells the competition

Press Release | From Page: HS7

Handsome Redmond suits modern families

Press Release | From Page: HS11

Growing your own

By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS14

Fraud workshop scheduled

Press Release | From Page: HS21

HCD launches assistance program

Press Release | From Page: HS22, 1 Comment

EZ Mortgages Inc. opens Placerville office

By News Release | From Page: HS22, 2 Comments