Back in 1980s, the Soviet Union settled its own smart house, Skype, Google Glass and even PlayStation. It was one of the biggest countries in the world whose leaders were really into the scientific research. Particularly in 1980s, there was a huge dream about filling up houses with new technical equipment like wireless home electronics, laptops, smart phones, or smart watches. They envisioned these houses, completely connected to each other, to be in a single system and hence the reason we call it ‘smart house’ these days.
In Soviet Union history, the 1980s has been a new page. With a new economic program from Mikhail Gorbachev, the life of the people of Soviet Union was altering by the period known as Perestroika. New projects such as designing a smart house that includes numerous modern electronic devices were being worked on by several institutes, including the All-Union Scientific Research Institute of Technical Aesthetics ASRITA. The gist was to develop a new system, which would be connected to each other by a central processing system, after wiping out all self-contained devices such as televisions, computers, and tape recorders.
This is how they explained their dream:
“The central processing unit receives information from the outside, over the air, cable networks, optical fibres, telephone networks, etc.; or from its own storage devices. The technique of the near future will keep the different combination of existing media from phonograph records to slides. The next step is to make a universal medium on which different digital data will be stored music, videos, slides, educational and game programs, and texts… The transition to universal media of a small size will lead to a genuine revolution in the design of home electronics.”
In order to connect the electronic devices, their strategy was to lay hi-tech cables in the walls of the apartments and manage the data through the main processor. As per the strategy, the main processor received the information to send movies to the TV units in the living room, games to game units in other room, tasking data to the computers, or audio books in the kitchen. They even dreamed about wearable electronics such as sunglasses, which turns into a display that showed the time, body temperature, heart rate and other relevant information. Now, we call it Google Glass.
A smart house model, in the picture above, known as ‘Super Functional Integrated Communicative System’ – SFINCS was created by the ASRITA. As you can see below, the central processing unit resembles a spaceship.
These strange petals in the tail are the analog types of modern SSD, HDD, flash drives or CD. They were first universal storages of the USSR. Both wired and wireless devices connection were offered by the ‘spaceship’ CPU.
The tiny screen was integrated with a remote controller, which is like a diagonal computer keyboard, but performed as a calculator, clock, timer, and a tiny TV. The voice control of system is provided by a built-in microphone.
The functionality of this design has not been limited by the scientists of the SFINCS. It has been designed in such a way that it could solve serious problems, transmitted information on any kind of issues and even helped with medical diagnosis.
The design was published in many Soviet newspapers like industrial design magazines, however it never came out in real life. Everything we have has come out from the imagination of someone, and we owe countless things to all of them, even if their ideas never became reality.