Home, Smart Home: 10 Gadgets Even The Jetsons Would Love4:00 PM EST Tue. Jan. 15, 2013
Who's to say only phones or TVs can be "smart"?
This year's International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2013 ushered in a number of new home automation solutions that suggest appliances ranging from ovens to vacuums are getting a whole lot smarter in 2013. Here are 10 products any future homeowner should consider today.
Sick of fumbling for your keys with an arm full of groceries? Those days are gone with Poly-Control's new wireless door lock.
Called Poly-Lock, this CES show-stopper allows users to remotely lock and unlock their doors with the push of a button on their smartphones. Users can program Poly-Lock to perform other functions as well, such as turning on the lights or disarming a home alarm, once the door is unlocked.
Poly-Control said the Poly-Lock is easy to install, sells for $200, and can be mounted on any kind of door, regardless of size or its current locking mechanism. Once installed, the Poly-Lock runs on a battery that typically lasts for up to a year.
Moneual's Magic Guard Water Purifier is much smarter than its name suggests.
In addition to producing clean, purified water, the Magic Guard alerts users when its filter needs to be changed and even sends a message to Moneual's service center if it detects a malfunction. Beyond that, Monueal's new gadget ensures the general well-being of its household, notifying both users and the local fire or police station if smoke, fire or gas leaks are detected.
No word yet on pricing or availability from Moneual.
Like many home management systems, Allure's Energy EverSense 2.0 solution is meant to help users keep track of and, ideally, minimize their home energy costs. The system has built-in proximity controls that sync with users' smartphones and determine whether they are actually in the house. If users aren't home, the system will automatically turn down the AC or the heat, and if they are -- or if they're nearing home -- the system boots back up.
Allure's EverSense product also doubles as a media player and can stream and play music from users' smartphones.
The system is compatible with Android and iOS devices and starts at $349.
Lowe's Iris Smart Kit also lets users remotely monitor and manage their homes from their mobile devices, but extends far beyond energy control.
In addition to keeping tabs on energy costs, users of Lowe's cloud-based system can control lawn sprinklers, smoke detectors and other home appliances while on the go. Most recently, the company launched controls for opening and closing pet doors for the family dog. The kit is compatible with iOS- and Android-based devices and starts around $179.
With DoorBot's doorbell, you can always see who's at the door -- without ever having to leave the couch.
The Wi-Fi-enabled doorbell allows users to see, hear and speak to visitors at their front door, even if they're not home. It works through a smartphone or tablet app that alerts users whenever the doorbell rings. For extra security, the DoorBot never shows visitors where the homeowner is dialing in from, and the gadget is supposedly a breeze to install.
DoorBot is expected to launch this July, starting at $169.
Novice chefs, rejoice: There's finally an oven that can do the cooking for you.
Dacor's Discover Smart Series Oven has a built-in Android tablet, allowing users to hunt down recipes on the Web or even receive step-by-step cooking instructions for their meals in realtime. What's more, users can remotely control the oven from their smartphones or tablets, adjusting bake times or temperatures on-the-fly.
Dacor offers a single smart oven for $4,000 and a double smart oven for $7,500.
The Nest Learning Thermostat is a digital thermostat that learns your schedule and uses that information to automatically adjust your home's temperature. If you like it cooler when you sleep, Nest turns itself down. If you like it warmer in the morning while getting ready for work, it turns itself on. The device is said to lower heating and cooling bills by as much as 20 percent and can be controlled via a smartphone or tablet.
But the best thing about Nest's Learning Thermostat is its sleek look and feel. The company was founded by Tony Fadell, a former Apple senior vice president who led the iPod engineering team, which likely explains Nest's keen eye on design.
Prone to spills? Then there's no better "smart" gadget for you than Samsung's NaviBot vacuum cleaner.
Equipped with two CPUs and a "Dust Awareness Sensor" that helps it identify your home's messiest areas, the NaviBot is a vacuum cleaner that essentially runs itself. This nifty gadget creates a digital map of your living space, charting the best and most efficient path to a clean home, and touts a slim design that allows it to easily fit in hard-to-reach spots, like under the couch. The higher-end versions of Samsung's NaviBot even have an "Auto Dust Emptying" function, allowing them to sense when their dustbins are full, return to their docking stations, and empty the bin into what Samsung calls a "central dust chamber."
The NaviBot ranges from about $799 to $1,299, depending on the model.
Toshiba placed a major emphasis on home automation at this year's CES, using the show floor to set up a mock living room and kitchen equipped with its Home Cloud solution.
By connecting almost any in-home appliance to the cloud, Toshiba's Home Cloud solution affords users maximum control over their homes and energy costs, along with a simpler way to stay in touch with friends and family. A TV, for instance, that's connected to Toshiba's Home Cloud can be used to send show recommendations or comments to other viewers, regardless of their location. Toshiba also demonstrated a "smart" refrigerator with a built-in tablet that can be used to chat with friends and families while making dinner.
A number of other cool features, such as the lights automatically dimming with the start of a movie, were also showcased by Toshiba.
As its name suggests, Alarm.com is a home automation vendor specifically targeting (you guessed it) home security.
The company has created a mobile app -- compatible with iOS, Android, Windows and BlackBerry devices -- from which users can control in-home alarm systems, turn the lights on and off, and even lock and unlock doors. Users can also sync the app with video monitoring systems to keep track of who is coming and going from their homes or driveways.