Keeping up with the Jetsons
My toaster is dumb. Likewise, my vacuum is stupid, my smoke detector is an idiot, and my fridge is a moron. In fact, all of my home appliances are pretty ignorant. They can't connect to my Wi-Fi, provide me with alerts, or be controlled by my smartphone—which means they're all getting left in the dust as technology proceeds to take over every portion of our lives, including our household items. More and more, tech is creeping into places it hasn't been seen before like deadbolts, light bulbs, even curtains.
We wanted to find out exactly how smart a house could be, so we decided to round up the most apt appliances we could find. Here's a list of every genius device we could think of, from the already available to the barely attainable.
Canary Smoke Detector
The piercing shriek of a smoke detector is the biggest annoyance of these life-saving devices. But what if you could silence your smoke detector right from your phone? And what if it also measured air quality and carbon monoxide levels? What if you could measure its battery life from your phone—and get connected to emergency services if there actually is a fire? Well…guess what the Canary Smoke Detector does.
Nest Learning Thermostat
One of the more well-known smart thermostats, the Nest Learning Thermostat helps you conserve energy by learning your habits and preferences. You can build an (adjustable) schedule, adjust the thermostat functions from your phone, and track your energy use. It measures temperature, humidity, and activity, and it can even track weather forecasts to keep you effortlessly informed.
Click & Grow
The smartest planter on the block, Click & Grow, has an LED arm that provides light, specially designed cartridges made from nanotech material that provides the seeds for the plants—and all the oxygen, water, and nutrients you’ll need. More advanced models under development will even let you water your plant via smartphone, but Click & Grow is available today.
Samsung Side-by-Side Refrigerator with Apps
If you’ve ever wanted your fridge to show your Google Calendar, play music, tell you the weather forecast, update you on the news, provide you with recipes, and display photos from your smartphone, then you’re in luck. Samsung’s Side by Side fridge features an 8-inch LCD and all the apps you can shake a celery stick at. What, you thought it was only intended to keep food cold? N00b.
LG Smart ThinQ SmartWasher with Allergiene
Laundry just got a lot more fun: LG’s ThinQ line features a washer with Wi-Fi, which means you can control it from your smartphone. Monitor your laundry from your smartphone, and download new cycles. There’s also a Smart Grid Ready feature that will automatically run the washer at times when electricity rates are lowest, and a Smart Diagnosis feature should you need to troubleshoot a problem.
Escea's DX1500 fireplace uses Wi-Fi to communicate with your smartphone. The iOS and Android app lets users control the temperature, flame, and the fireplace's timer. Plus, it looks super cool—but the DX line seems to be sold only in Australia and New Zealand. So…how about bringing this one to the States, Escea?
Haier Cordless Blender
Haier’s blender has no cords, cables, or plugs. That’s because it charges via a plate embedded into your countertop, which is…a more involved technology but still pretty cool. We loved it at CES, but sadly, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to get your hands on this. Unless you live in China. In which case, please send us one. For science. And smoothies.
LG Smart ThinQ Range
Another entry from LG, the Smart ThinQ line's range really kind of does "know what’s cooking." This smart oven is Wi-Fi enabled so that you can set precise temperatures and even start the remote-cleaning feature remotely, and plan meals with the cooking management app. It’s just one step closer to a robot cooking for you, which—if The Jetsons taught me anything—is how it should be.
Breville Die-Cast Smart Toaster
Are you tired of your dumb, old, regular toaster? Get a Smart Toaster with preset functions, LED lights that count down the toasting progress, and a motorized Lift & Look function that raises the bread just long enough for you to see if it’s done to your liking. You’ll never burn toast again—well, unless that’s how you prefer your toast.
Goji Smart Lock
Many smart locks and deadbolts are available, but Goji can send you a picture alert of who is at the door, and real-time app and text notifications let you keep tabs on activity at your home. You can set access for specific times and people, so guests or workers can enter the house using their phones. So the next time you wonder if you remembered to lock the front door, you can check—and lock it—right from your phone.
Sonte, which is funded through Kickstarter but is not yet shipping, is a Wi-Fi-enabled smart film that can be fitted over existing windows or glass walls. Then by just flicking a button in the app, you can turn your windows from clear to opaque—and the opaque state even acts as a protective layer against UV rays, which helps save energy. There’s also Sonte Film Black, which helps block more light.
One area of the home that is still underserved by tech advancements is the microwave: The Beyond Microwave (left) scanned bar codes on food packaging to automatically set the timer, but it doesn’t seem to be available any longer. For now, we’ll have to make do with LG's Over the Range model, which senses humidity to prevent overcooking. That’s not bad, but it’s not so thrilling either. Get to work, gadget devs!
Whirlpool Smart Dishwasher
As though it weren’t already enough that it washes dishes for you, Whirpool’s Smart Dishwasher uses 6th Sense Live technology to let you remotely activate options, and keep track of how much energy you're using. It can also send you Smart Nudges that will remind you when your dishes are clean. You’ll still have to put them away yourself—like some kind of caveman.
Let there be Wi-Fi-enabled, multicolored, energy-efficient light! The Lifx LED bulb is controlled using an iOS or Android device. You can adjust brightness for any bulb, change the colors, and schedule the bulbs to gently increase or decrease so you can wake up gradually, or head to bed with slowly dimming lights. You can also set the lights automatically come on when you come home, and match the bulbs to your music to create an insta-disco.
Roomba is synonymous with robot vacuums, and with their track record of innovation, it's easy to see why. Roomba 790, the company's latest model, features a Wireless Command Center that uses radio frequency technology to allow you to initiate a cleaning, schedule a cleaning, or steer your Roomba from anywhere in your home.
TVs have been pushing their smart features on us for a while now, but Sony’s W900A goes above and beyond. Not only does it provide you with the expected slew of apps, but it can also wirelessly mirror your smartphone or tablet. You can also use that same device to control the TV itself, or to browse a channel guide. Soon they'll have to stop calling TVs "the idiot box."
LG Smart Closet
Another item that is (sadly) only available in Asia is LG's smart closet, which gently rocks the clothes inside in order to freshen them up and rid them of wrinkles. This high-concept closet even uses steam cartridges to cleanse your clothing, but won’t help you pick out an outfit. (But we’ll tell you straight-up that sweater does not go with those pants.)
When you’re slaving away over a hot grill, you usually have to rely on other people to bring you a beer. Now you can get it yourself, while you wirelessly control your grill via smartphone or PC using the CyberQ WiFi, along with a fan kit and adapter for your particular grill or barbecue cooker. The CyberQ has one pit probe and three food probes to help you monitor your meat temps, adjust temperatures, and detect when the lid is left open. It can even sound an alarm when your food is done.