Household appliances are just so boring. No retina displays, no Wi-Fi and not an NFC chip in sight. But things look to change – in every room. So get ready for smarter showers, turbo-charged microwaves and even sentient (well, not quite) washing machines.
Feature-Packed Fridge Freezer
If only the fridge scanned the milk we popped in the shelf and warned us when it was approaching the sell-by date. How much easier our lives would be if the freezer texted us when the door was left open. Could you imagine a fridge freezer telling us we have too much saturated fat in our diet?
Well, these mind-boggling features might not be far off. Samsung’s added Wi-Fi and a touchscreen to its top of the range models, offering a variety of apps that display recipes, photos and even the weather. Here’s hoping this doesn’t lead to the demise of the much beloved fridge magnet.
Samsung also uses the ‘smart’ epithet for one of its microwaves to point out the intelligent sensors that read the surface temperature of food. But, hang on a sec, there’s no Wi-Fi! So it seems we’re further away from reheating last night’s lasagna from our iPhone than Samsung lets on.
A potential problem with the pipe dream is that microwaves and Wi-Fi often share the same 2.4GHz band, which can mess up the signal from single-band routers. Good thing dual-band routers are dropping in price as we speak (or I write and you read).
Who doesn’t enjoy a nice fluffed-up pillow? Considering that we already have music-playing varieties, a self-heating/self-shaping version doesn’t seem so far-fetched. OK, it would involve quite a bit of complicated and bulky hardware, but it just seems like the perfect ludicrous Kickstarter project. You heard it here first.
Oh how stressful it is to make sure your turnips get the right amount of water when the rain doesn’t do its job. How are we mere mortals meant to know that the begonias are suffering?
Imagine a world where an automated hosepipe kept your garden in check. With a temperature and humidity sensor, it would know when to spray its life-giving liquid, while we snooze/tan on a chaise longue, naturally.
Wi-Fi Washing Machine
Constantly checking to see if the washing’s done can be a real darn pain. Wouldn’t it be wonderful for an alarm to go off on your phone to tell you to pop it in the dryer?
It can already be done with a Twine sensor, but it’s not very practical. And Samsung’s WF457 Front-Loading Washer prototype showed us that remote control was possible. Sadly, this game-changer never made it to market.
Before long, you will be able to handle all of your household duties with your smartphone. As technology evolves for different applications, it’s only a matter of time before this luxurious dream becomes reality. Until then, you’ll just have to keep your shirt on. The washing machine that can take it off for you might already be in beta testing.
Photo by Robert Scoble