Products that have originated at, or been influenced by the Home include Microsoft's Tablet PC and Windows Media Center. The company also believes that the world's first digital photo frame was created 12 years ago for the Home.
Housed in the Executive Briefing Center on Microsoft's Redmond campus, it has been regularly updated over the years and currently reflects the merging of the digital and physical worlds, the way sensors are shrinking in size and cost, and the way information can be assembled from multiple sources.
Demonstrations in the Home straddle what is currently possible and what is a few years away from a cost, adoption or technology perspective. For example, ringing the doorbell triggers a camera to take a photo of the caller, which is automatically sent to the supposed resident's mobile phone. That's easy enough to do in real life.
But things like room lighting that adjusts to suit the piece of media that's currently being played, a kitchen bench that can identify the different medications among mixture of tablets, or a multi-panel digital photo frame that can identify items (eg souvenirs) placed on a shelf and the display related photos aren't things we're all likely to have by Christmas.
Like a good butler, a good home shouldn't be intrusive - see page 2.
Another scenario presented is that the system might report that an elderly relative living alone elsewhere is having a normal day based on being able to detect that they have, for example, made coffee and turned the TV on.
Or maybe someone sends you a party invitation containing a digital tag that links to an online version of the information. The Home could read that data, check your calendar, book whichever of your preferred babysitters is available, order taxis, and so on.
And how about using projectors and cameras to turn the dining table into a giant Surface-style device? It could project virtual placemats and other table decorations - some of them interactive - for a children's party. And it could be great for homework, especially for assembling material assembled from the school reading list plus other items you've located.
On the subject of school, why not put a camera behind a kid's mirror for an automatic check that the selected outfit complies with the school dress code? Or maybe you could hold up one garment to receive suggestions about which other items from the wardrobe would be a good match.
Another use for projectors is to instantly redecorate a room to suit the occupant. Neutral paint can be quickly overlaid with coloured lighting, photos, posters, maybe the online status of the occupant's buddy list. When daughter is away at a friend's house and Aunt Jean is staying, the dÃ©cor can be changed to something more appropriate in an instant.
Want to see what the Home looks like? Please read on.
A photo gallery and video of the current configuration of the Microsoft Home is available here.
Disclosure: Stephen Withers travelled to Seattle as the guest of Microsoft.