The Internet is headed into space and will utterly pervade future homes, an Internet pioneer told a packed lecture hall at the University of Reading last week.

Doctor Vinton Cerf – inventor of the TCP/IP protocol that makes Internet communications possible – was speaking at the institution to support a charitable organization that helps the deaf. He used his moment to offer a brief history of the Internet, and to consider its future.

Cerf expects the number of Internet users to grow to 2.7 billion users by 2015. He also predicts that more household items will soon be Internet-connected, for example: "An Internet fridge would know what food it contains and be able to search the Web for recipes," he said.

Cerf worked for the US Defence Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) between 1976 and 1982.