Each year, thousands of techies gather for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) where companies unveil their latest technology at the world's largest annual consumer technology conference. The conference features over 3,500 exhibitors showing off their state of the art products to over 150,000 attendees. Gadgets range from health-focused products to wearable tech (think Fit Bit or Apple Watch), to drones, 3D printers, and virtual reality sets.
Smart home compatibility was a focal point of this year’s conference, as more than 150 exhibitors debuted their impressive home integration technology. There were larger than life smart TVs, kitchen equipment, security devices, housekeeping technology, and energy saving and monitoring devices; but here are a few products that caught our eye.
- Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator: Probably the coolest fridge ever known to man, this baby will set you back $5,000. Trust us, though, it’s worth it. The Family Hub Refrigerator is just that: it functions as a family communication center, a home security system, an entertainment center, and a food management system all in one. Its more basic functions allow for a streamlined grocery shopping experience, taking pictures of the inside of the fridge so that consumers can always see what they have at home via their smartphone. An app on the refrigerator’s touchscreen allows users to purchase items they need (think paper towels, dish soap, dog food) from multiple retailers at the push of a button. The Family Communication Center allows consumers to write notes, post photos, share calendars and even artwork on its touch screen, which synchs with the users' smartphones as well. IoT Technology allows consumers to check if their home’s doors are locked, turn off the lights, and the entertainment feature allows consumers to stream movies on the touchscreen, or listen to music with its built-in stereo speakers. Talk about smart!
- Sensorwake Alarm: Few things get a person out of bed faster than the smell of bacon and eggs or fresh croissants cooking. Sensorwake came up with the genius idea to wake people up using smell rather than sound. This device promises happier mornings thanks to a gradual and gentle wake up to the smell of consumers’ favorite scents like espresso, chocolate, croissants, seaside or jungle scents, and peppermint. For just $89 this little gadget can be purchased, along with interchangeable smell ‘capsules’ that dispense a chosen smell up to 30 times each. They have yet to announce a bacon and eggs capsule, but we can only hope it’s on the way!
- Accessories for Apple’s HomeKit: Apple was absent from the CES this year, but that didn’t stop tons of companies from debuting devices and products that are compatible with Apple's smart home API, which allows you to put your iPhone at the center of your smart home. Honeywell came out with a smart thermostat that is iPhone compatible. Elgato announced an energy monitoring plug and light switch as well, which allows Siri to monitor energy usage and turn on and off lights. Other rumored additions coming soon included Symphony and Signal ceiling fans, Lutron Electronics’ smart window blinds, and ConnectSense’s smart water sensor. Basically, soon consumers will be able to control almost every electronic component of their house from their iPhone.
- GoSun Stove: All right, so this isn’t necessarily smart home technology, but is too cool not to mention. The GoSun Stove is the ultimate piece of camping equipment, and will soon be available in larger sizes for home use. This solar powered grill uses a unique design that directs sunlight towards a cylinder, which can heat up to 550 degrees in some models in 10 to 20 minutes. The food cooks inside a cylinder, using only the power of the sun! The company makes a variety of models that are actually affordable. The smaller GoSun Sport will cost you around $279, and the larger models range from around $600 to around $750. These models boast enough room to cook whole chickens, or even bake a cake! The most expensive model also features a USB recharger that harvests energy from the stove’s heat to recharge electronics while in use.
- Sleep Number’s ‘it’ bed: Sleep Number already sells a pretty spiffy bed that allows partners to adjust firmness individually on their side of the bed, but they’ve added some sleek technology to give consumers the best sleep of their life. SleepIQ technology now gives users the knowledge to adjust their beds for their own best sleep. It tracks things like heart rate, breathing, and restfulness during the day and night figuring out what adjustments can be made to improve sleep: from changes in sleep patterns to diet and exercise adjustments. The app connected to the mattress quantifies sleep to give personal insights and lifestyle suggestions and allows users to adjust their sleep number for different life events. It connects to other tech in your house and phone (things like your calendar) so that if you have an early meeting, it knows and will adjust the bed accordingly. Same if the user has just gotten back from a hard workout, if the weather changes, and much more. This thing will retail for about $1,000 and is probably one of our favorite gadgets premiered at the expo.
We can’t quite decide if all of this technology is helpful or invasive, but we can’t argue that it’s innovative! Have you tried any of these smart products?