The Future

So where do fans go from here? We asked Ron Rezek, founder of the Modern Fan Company, whose designs in the late 80's reinvented the industry, to help us imagine the fan of the future. Here are some of the features he sees on the horizon.

  • With their bird's-eye view, ceiling fans will make ideal housing for the home's security devices, including smoke detectors and burglar arms.

  • Fans work by evaporative cooling, so they're really only effective when people are present. Proximity sensors will keep the units whirling only when the room is occupied.

  • Outdoor fans are increasingly popular. The next step: built-in insect repellents. Coatings on the bulbs will react with a fan's fluorescent light to produce the repellent.

  • Fan lighting will continue to get more sophisticated. In one scenario, fluorescents provide ambient light, while pinpoint LEDs accent a piece of artwork.

  • Fans are efficient, but the government wants better. Aerodynamic arched blades, made from lightweight graphite, will push more air using fewer watts, in accordance with the EPA's ever-tightening energy specifications.

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