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Consumer Electronics

Shopping for Christmas Future

08 December 2017
Image credit: Larisa-K/CC0 Creative Commons.

A new report from Amazon’s U.K. site offers some ideas about what we can expect in Christmases to come.

Called “Christmas of the Future,” the study picks the brains of two futurists, William Higham and Dr. Morgaine Gaye, and highlights their predictions in several categories: food and drink, decorations, entertainment and gifting. Here are some of their most intriguing insights:

Food and Drink

The futurists say that festive food will “embrace experimentation,” which will include some unexpected combinations like bourbon peanut butter or wine ice cream. It will also take in food traditions from faraway lands: Julbord from Sweden, Pan de Muerto from Mexico, the foods of India’s Holi Festival. “Anything that’s tasty and has a story will impress our guests — and look good on social media,” says Higham.

There will also be newfangled ways to produce your culinary masterpieces — hydroponics to grow vegetables inside your kitchen and 3D printing to create edible artworks for dessert.

Decorations

Here’s another area that 3D printing will broaden the palette, allowing you to make personalized ornaments, home-grown wreaths and so on. These can then be melted down after the holidays, and re-created the following year.

And then there are virtual decorations: LED wallpaper, for instance, that can project festive scenes onto your walls. Gaye notes some advantages to this approach, such as minimal storage needs and lack of waste. “Holographic images…will enable homes to have a fully-decorated tree without having to physically bring anything into the house,” she says.

Entertainment

Got family or friends who live too far to celebrate the holidays in person with you? You’ll be able to haptically “hug” them via high-tech wearables, or bring their likenesses into your home via holographic projection.

Gaye says that most entertainment — even family games — will revolve around the kinesthetic as opposed to the visual, incorporating scent, touch, biofeedback and the like.

Gifting

This one might sound a little invasive, but the futurists predict that artificial intelligence will turn information contained in online profiles into the perfect wish list. “We’ll use our shopping, viewing and social media behaviors to generate an instant Christmas list,” says Higham. All the more reason to be vigilant about your privacy settings, perhaps … but then again: better gifts!

Gift cards and “experience vouchers” will also become more common, which translates back to less waste from packaging, wrapping paper and so on. Not to mention fewer bad gifts.

Check It Out: Amazon's U.K. site developed a Shop the Future section to coincide with the report. Happy holidays!

To contact the author of this article, email tony.pallone@ieeeglobalspec.com


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