It's been 19 years since Disney #blessed us with the masterpiece that is Smart House. If you don't remember, it's the DCOM — that's Disney Channel Original Movie, for the uninitiated — where a kid wins a new house, complete with an AI assistant and over-the-top technology. Watching it then, every feature of the smart house seemed like a dream. (I always wished that one day, my wall would disappear and my room would transform into a B*Witched music video, too.) But watching it again today, some of those advancements are less than impressive, because we've got 'em. Let's break down the best features smart house had to offer, and figure out how many are a reality today.
THEY HAD: Pat
The heart and soul of Disney's Smart House was an AI assistant named Pat. This chick could do literally everything, from storing contact info, to controlling the temperature in the house. Pat even chose the winners of the house, the Cooper family, using her "random shuffle mode."
WE HAVE: Alexa
So, Pat doesn't exist IRL, but thanks to tech advancements today we do have , , and . All of these smart assistants can do things Pat did, like pull up your contacts to call or text someone, and even recognize your voice. They don't, however, take a tiny sample of your blood to learn your entire medical history and dietary needs. I'm kind of okay with that though.
THEY HAD: A snake-like robot arm
This thing kind of gives me Stranger Things Demogorgon vibes, but it was pretty useful. The slinky arm that seemed to appear out of nowhere could grab the newspaper from the front yard every morning, and also physically boot guests from the house.
WE HAVE: Dogs
Kidding! In all seriousness, I'm sure robots like this exist, but not many people are actually using them in their homes. Still, today's technology has it covered; you can have or read the day's top stories to you. (And, let's be honest — you're more likely to reach into your pocket and grab your phone to learn the latest headlines than head to the front door these days.)
THEY HAD: Floor absorbers
This is easily the coolest idea from Smart House. After throwing a wild party, Pat told Ben and Angie to throw all the trash onto the floor. Once it was there, Pat cleaned it up in seconds, sucking it into the "floor absorbers."
WE HAVE: Roomba
So, magical floors are still a ways away, but at least you can buy a vacuum that operates itself. It won't clean up an entire party's worth of trash, but it can pick up crumbs and dirt so you don't have to.
THEY HAD: Screens spanning an entire wall
Okay, this is the second coolest thing Pat could do. In Smart House, entire walls became screens, transforming the dining room into a beach, or playing "Slam Dunk (Da Funk)" and basically turning the living room into a concert for Ben and his friends.
WE HAVE: Massive flatscreen TVs
Unfortunately, we're not quite there yet. Still, today's HD screens are pretty sweet. And there are smart options, like , that have YouTube and VEVO apps, so you can also watch your favorite music videos in the living room.
THEY HAD: Video calls
At the time, this feature seemed pretty cool. I mean, we didn't even have cell phones with cameras in 1999. The thought of someone's face appearing on a huge screen during a call was definitely impressive.
WE HAVE: FaceTime
Watching the movie now, you're probably not even phased by the video call scene. That's because we've had Apple's FaceTime for seven years now. There's also Skype, SnapChat calls, and countless other ways to connect through video.
THEY HAD: Food cooked instantly
As if Pat didn't do enough already, she could also make any food you want instantly. Mac n' cheese? Chocolate chip pancakes? A banana-orange smoothie? You got it. Everything Pat cooked would appear magically from a trap door in the kitchen counter.
WE HAVE: Seamless
It's not as fast as Pat's cooking, but today we have Seamless and a few other online delivery services that let you order whatever your heart desires with the push of a few buttons. And if you're feeling extra lazy, you don't have to press any buttons — can read you the menu and even place the order for you.
THEY HAD: Security cameras
Smart House was decked out with cameras, and when someone pulled up to the house, Pat would alert whoever was home of the "visitor approaching."
WE HAVE: Security cameras!
Guys! We made it! We have security cameras, too. You can buy indoor and outdoor cameras that will send a notification to your phone when there's any activity happening around the house. You can also buy that use cameras to show you who's at the door.
THEY HAD: Personalized wake-up videos
So, you know how Pat could turn the wall into a screen? She used this to wake everyone up, too. Ben woke up to a championship basketball game, Angie to a symphony, and their dad to a rooster crowing.
WE HAVE: Customized alarms
Our smart homes won't display videos on the wall, but they can be programmed to wake you up. You can program yours to play a certain song or radio station in the morning, or if you have an Alexa, you can have one of your .
THEY HAD: Scary malfunctions
The thing about technology is, it's not perfect. Pat turned out to be a real b*tch. After Ben programmed her to act like more of a mother figure, she became insanely controlling. By the end — spoiler alert! — she held the Cooper family hostage in their own home. To be fair, things do get better, but I won't tell you exactly how it ends.
WE HAVE: Sometimes-terrifying glitches
So far no one has been held prisoner by their smart home device, but we've got horror stories of our own. Remember when Alexa recorded one woman's conversation and texted it to her friend? Yeah. Chills.
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