tech and design 2016

12 Futuristic Products That Might Change Your Life

Could this be in your living room’s future? A table made from old jeans, a pod that turns a sink into a washing machine, or one of the other products that ­designers think could change the way we live.

A chair made from old jeans

Photo: Courtesy of the vendor

Worn stool from Thislexik
Design studio Thislexik turns recycled clothing into furniture as part of its Worn Series line. Fabric is coated with an ecofriendly resin; sculpted into a stool ($320), vase, or chair; and left to harden. You can even send in your own tattered Levi’s for a custom order.

Endorsed by: Alex Klein, co-founder and CEO of Kano, which makes build-it-yourself computers. “I like that it takes a common feature of most people’s houses — rumpled-up clothes in places they’re not supposed to be — and transforms it into a centerpiece.”

A 10,000-hour lightbulb

Photo: Andrew Penketh/Courtesy of Plumen

Plumen 003 lightbulb
Five years in the making, this $170 energy-efficient lightbulb — which is meant to be hung by itself — promises a warm, flattering glow for up to 10,000 hours, ten times as long as an incandescent bulb.

Endorsed by: Joe Doucet, founder of 3-D-printing company Othr. “It’s an essay in elegant efficiency that doesn’t require a shade.”

Also endorsed by: Paola Antonelli, senior curator of architecture and design at MoMA. “A devastatingly elegant low-energy bulb.”

A sleek sleep tracker

Photo: Courtesy of the vendor

OURA ring
This “wellness” ring, introduced last year that costs $299 is simultaneously a sleep and heart-rate monitor, step counter, and pulse oximeter — the first wearable to do all four.

Endorsed by: Rashid Johnson, sculptor and photographer.

See what this fancy-looking ring means for your sleep.

A dirty-air soothsayer

Photo: Courtesy of the vendor

Awair smart air-quality monitor
Sensors monitor a room’s temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide, dust,and other unpleasant things. The $199 product then rates air quality.

Endorsed by: Primo Orpilla and Verda Alexander, co-founders of Studio O+A.

A nail-less table

Photo: Courtesy of the vendors

Wood-Skin self-assembly flat-pack furniture
In April, MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab and Wood-Skin unveiled a table that can be shipped flat and requires no tools for assembly. Just push on the table gently, and it will pop up into shape. A prototype was presented at the Salone del Mobile in Milan last year.

Endorsed by: Jody Medich, director of design for SU Labs at the Silicon Valley think tank Singularity University. “You don’t need glue, nails, or screws.”

Sculptural sound panels

Photo: Courtesy of the vendor

Snowsound acoustic panel
These sound-absorbing Alexander Calder–like panels use polyester to absorb unwanted dinner-party noise.

Endorsed by: Primo Orpilla and Verda Alexander. “These panels could be a great add to a home with a lot of hard surfaces. The panels would warm things up and calm a room that has a lot of noise bouncing around. They also function like art.”

An instant washing machine

Photo: Courtesy of the vendors

Drop this $149 pebble-shaped nugget (it’ll be available in early 2017) and some detergent into a sink, and via ultrasonic waves, it’ll mimic a washing machine.

Endorsed by: Mark Foster Gage, assistant dean at the Yale School of Architecture.

Watch how this small, plastic device does laundry.

A glamping toilet

Photo: Courtesy of the vendor

The Crapper composting toilet by Toilets for People
A low-tech, ecofriendly composting toilet ($625) that is waterless, odorless, and reduces waste volume.

Endorsed by: DB Lampman, co-founder of the Staten Island MakerSpace.

Watch a video on how this toilet is helping the world.

A multiroom apartment in a box

Photo: Courtesy of the vendors

Ori Systems robotic furniture
This smart-furniture system, designed by Yves Behar with the MIT Media Lab, can convert a bedroom into a living room and then into a closet via a control panel that alters layout and lighting. The system will be available in early 2017.

Endorsed by: Jody Medich. “These incredibly modular systems turn tiny apartments into multi­room spaces, constantly reconfiguring based on the inhabitant’s needs.”

A souped-up scale

Photo: Courtesy of the vendor

Naked 3D fitness tracker
In beta-testing since 2015, this $499 product consists of a mirror and rotating scale that capture a 3-D scan of your body. The data is then delivered to an app, so you can track your body’s changes over time.

Endorsed by: Karim Rashid, industrial designer.

Watch how this fitness tracker works.

An Easy-Bake Oven for grown-ups

Photo: Courtesy of the vendor

June countertop oven
Never overcook anything again. This not only recognizes the food you place inside; it also bakes, roasts, and toasts perfectly with the press of a button. It’ll be available for $1,495 by the holidays.

Endorsed by: Stephanie Riggs, producer of Banshee Chapter, the first film released on an Oculus Rift.

See how this high-tech oven knows what you’re cooking.

A super-tool for non-artisans

Photo: Courtesy of the vendor

Shaper Origin CNC machine
Program a design on this $1,499 device, and its blade will cut through whatever it is you’re cutting and make sure you don’t stray.

Endorsed by: Bethany Koby and Daniel Hirschmann, founders of Technology Will Save Us.

*This article appears in the October 17, 2016, issue of New York Magazine.

12 Futuristic Products That Might Change Your Life