Whirlpool’s future home is a tech marvel (video)

Las Vegas—A glowing electronic fireplace, a music-blasting refrigerator, and a suite of modular cooling cubes for your veggies and bread are just a few of the cool concepts on display at Whirlpool’s International CES booth this week.

The company best known for its dishwashers and washing machines decided to show off its future tech at CES this year, along with actual products like an Internet-connected line of appliances hitting stores this March.

I admit, being able to remotely activate your dryer from your smartphone when you toss a load of wet clothes inside and forget to turn the thing on – not that I’ve ever done that – is pretty convenient.

Whirlpool's fireplace concept couples cooking with mood lighting

But I was drawn to the ambient lights radiating from Whirlpool’s conceptual fireplace. The fireplace is a concept dining table with a glowing red cooking reservoir in the center that uses warm light to cook your food. The color-changing hood serves as a fan and sets the scene with mood lighting. Whirlpool’s fireplace has a long way  to go before it hits the market (if ever), but cooking your food tableside by the warm glow of a fake fire is a novel concept.

The appliance maker also showed off the CoolVox refrigerator, that uses Bluetooth to blast your Spotify playlists from a speaker in its door. Adele provides the soundtrack to your life, but now she can also set the scene for your late-night ice cream raid.

Then there’s FreshConnect, which sounds like a grocery delivery app but is actually a system of refrigerated cubes. In the future, see, we won’t need Bluetooth fridges. Our kitchens will be stocked with cubes for each food group – produce, poultry, and wine – chilled to the perfect temperature.

Whirlpool's FreshConnect Cube concept

The fireplace, CoolVox fridge, and FreshConnect cubes might only exist as ideas for the home of the future, but their imaginative take on what’s ahead in appliance tech offers a fun, fanciful look at the future.

For more blogs, stories, photos, and video from the nation's largest consumer electronics show, check out complete coverage of CES 2013 from PCWorld and TechHive.

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