These days, state-of-the-art home electronics offers a smorgasbord of options, many of which were on view at the annual CES. A few trends were crystal clear: Three-dimensional television is coming; the new 3D sets look far better than last year’s, when clunky glasses and not-ready-for-prime-time displays tempered the experience; and 3D content is becoming more compelling.
Additionally, sleek tablet computers, including the Motorola Xoom and Samsung Galaxy, are doing their part to untether us from our home offices and give us a wish list of programming from anywhere.
Advances in lighting, particularly LED, were notable. One display featured a shelf illuminated with LED lights powered by eCoupled technology, which uses inductive coupling to transform flat surfaces into power sources for battery-operated devices including phones, laptops and smart appliances. And speaking of appliances, we saw a plethora of Internet-connected refrigerators, dishwashers, washers and dryers. Here are some of the hi-tech home devices that caught our eye:
Sometimes multitasking can be tough. You’ve got a patio full of guests but someone needs to tend to the grill to ensure medium-rare perfection. Enter the iGrill, a wireless cooking thermometer that sends cooking status updates directly to your iPhone, iPod or iPad via long-range Bluetooth connectivity. igrillinc.com
Withings, a manufacturer of baby monitors, is offering a smart sensor/camera unit with an extra-wide lens and night vision with infrared LEDs. Anxious parents can place it in their child’s room in order to see the child via WiFi or Bluetooth on the screens of devices including iPhones, iPads, many LCD television models, Mac computers and eBook readers. The smart sensor is equipped with a microphone so parents can interact with their child remotely. Available in late March. withings.com
A finalist for a CES Innovation Award in the major home appliances category, Kenmore’s new Elite Dishwasher has a top-mounted, full-color interactive LCD screen. The screen provides maintenance and energy-saving tips, registers the type of dish detergent you’re using so it can adapt its settings to it, and lets you program your wash times. kenmore.com
Several years ago, iRobot revolutionized robotic vacuuming with the Roomba. The idea of letting a machine do your dirty work caught on and today, LG is
tossing its hat in the ring with the Hom-Bot Circular. Measuring just over three-and-a-half inches tall and weighing in at seven pounds, the automated Hom-Bot uses dual cameras and ultrasonic and infrared sensors to help avoid collisions. Coming later this year. lg.com
Part of its new Thinq line, LG’s smart oven connects online with your computer and—more conveniently—your smart phone. This enables homeowners to remotely interact with the oven, commanding it, for example, to move from cooking to warming mode if you’re running late. Coming later this year. lg.com
Catherine Applefeld Olson is based in Alexandria, Virginia.