The house that the Hadley family lives in is a technological achievement in itself. Called a "Happy-life Home," the house does nearly everything for them. Lights come on automatically when they enter a room. The Happy-life Home "which clothed and fed and rocked them to sleep and played and sang and was good to them." However, George and Lydia begin to think the house does too much; they feel useless, certainly with respect to being parents. Lydia comments to George:
I feel like I don't belong here. The house is wife and mother now, and nursemaid. Can I compete with an African veldt? Can I give a bath and scrub the children as efficiently or quickly as the automatic scrub bath can? I cannot. And it isn't just me. It's you.
The children "televise" rather than telephone to their parents to say they'll be late. The family's dining room table produces foot itself.
The most technologically advanced instrument is the nursery which can create virtual worlds (so realistic they border on the real). These worlds are created by connecting with the family's minds.
Remarkable how the nursery caught the telepathic emanations of the children's minds and created life to fill their every desire. The children thought lions, and there were lions. The children thought zebras, and there were zebras. Sun—sun. Giraffes—giraffes. Death and death.
A problem arises when George can't change the nursery to something other than the African veldt. After consulting with a psychologist, David McClean, George decides to turn everything off, to learn how to do things for themselves:
And he marched about the house turning off the voice clocks, the stoves, the heaters, the shoe shiners, the shoe lacers, the body scrubbers and swabbers and massagers, and every other machine he could put his hand to. The house was full of dead bodies, it seemed. It felt like a mechanical cemetery. So silent. None of the humming hidden energy of machines waiting to function at the tap of a button.