Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates spoke on Sunday of a future in which home room decor changes with a person's mood and kitchens guide amateur cooks through recipes.
He envisioned front doors that contact mobile telephones to show absent home-owners who is knocking and let them provide electronic signatures if packages or flowers are being delivered.
Bus stop shelters will recognise travellers by their mobile devices and provide schedules as well as recommendations of restaurants or other nearby places suited to their tastes.
These features already exist at the House of the Future at Microsoft's campus in Redmond, Washington, Gates told a ballroom packed with 4,000 people on the eve of world's largest consumer electronics show in Las Vegas. The key, Gates said, was merging hardware advances such as those on display at the 40th annual Consumer Electronics Show with connectivity.
Devices commanded by speech and computers with built-in cameras will be among the trend setting developments in the coming five years, Gates forecast. Gates was joined by Ford president for the Americas Mark Fields to describe a deal in which the US auto giant would use Microsoft software to install cars with voice-activated telephone and music operations.
Using English, Spanish or French, drivers will be able to call out contacts from their cellphone's address book. The system will read out incoming text messages, and can translate commonly used messaging expressions such as 'LOL' (laugh out loud) audibly, according to the companies.