CES 2016 unveils the coolest new finds in home tech
A fridge that knows when you're out of groceries. A house that talks back to you. A bedroom that automatically adjusts the lights, sounds and temperatures to ensure you have a perfect night's sleep. Sound like the stuff of science fiction? Well, it's coming to a home near you.
At the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, vendors unveiled plenty of new and improved appliances for the home — part of a new trend in "smart homes." But these homes are more than just smart, according to Mike Soucie, product strategy lead at Nest Labs, a company making Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats and sensors for your home: "We tend not to use the term 'smart home.' We prefer what we call creating the 'thoughtful home,'" Souci told CNBC.
Just how "thoughtful" are these futuristic homes? See for yourself:
Samsung's new Family Hub Refrigerator
Samsung busted out a refrigerator that's basically a robot — it has cameras inside of it that take pictures of your food to let you know when you're running low on certain items, it hooks up to your Pandora playlist to help you choose some kitchen jams and it even has a Wi-Fi-connected feature on the door to help you keep track of family members' schedules. Handwritten notes on the fridge are clearly soon to be obsolete.
Plus this fridge will even shop for you — you can tap the MasterCard app on the fridge and order the groceries the fridge tells you that you need, and have them delivered to you. It's totally making me resent my regular dumb old fridge that can't even order more ice cream for me right now.
If I had this, I'd probably never get out of bed. Withing's Aura is no ordinary bedside alarm clock. It's a Wi-Fi-enabled device that provides you with everything ranging from "optimized colors [that] promote secretion of sleep hormones" to trackers that monitor ambient noise to figure out what's keeping you awake at night. And sweaty bed sheets and cold toes are things of the past — the Aura has sensors that monitor the temperature of your room to keep you comfy all night. Plus it adjusts and monitors your light levels, to ensure you have the best sleep possible. Add the fact that they've recently partnered with Spotify to make your favourite music available with an arm's reach and you're really not going to want to leave your bed.
Imagine losing your keys and shouting, "Where are my keys?" in desperation and having your house actually answer you in a sexy secretarial female voice. Weird but amazing, right? Amazon Echo updates using the Cloud and can track your belongings hooked into tracking devices (it works with TrackR). Amazon's virtual assistant Alexa's voice emanates from a tube-shaped speaker. Alexa can hear you anywhere in the room (which is kind of creepy and makes me think the movie Her is actually happening IRL, but whatever) but only responds when addressed by name. You can demand she track down anything ranging from baking substitutions when you're cooking to pizza in your area. Or request she dim or brighten your lights. Now if only she could cook, clean and make gin martinis.