We're living in a smart TV, smartphones and smart cars world, so why not smart home appliances that can all be controlled with an app? That's the idea LG is floating around at this year's CES — home gadgets that talk to each other wirelessly.
Imagine your refrigerator, washing machine and dryer, robotic vacuum and stove all accessible with an app — either through a smartphone, tablet or smart TV.
That's LG's grand vision at least. Are they cool and do they work?
1. Tromm Styler Steam Closet
LG's concept clothes manager is already available in Korea for about $2,000 (converted). It isn't a dry-cleaning machine. It's a "freshener." The closet gently rocks any apparel hanging in it for about 39 minutes and when you open its door, your clothes are either unwrinkled, don't smell like sweaty armpits or something that's been sterilized.
The Tromm Styler uses steam cartridges to work its magic. Each cartridge can be reused over and over, so you don't need to constantly fill it up with water.
You can even put toys and other things that need to be sterilized in there for a quick freshening. This already exists, and yet to us it seems like magic.
2. Smart Refrigerator
Part of LG's Smart ThinQ appliances, I saw a refrigerator that could accept grocery receipts scanned from a smartphone camera. The fridge could then keep track of the grocery inventory, recommend recipes based on what food you've got and includes useful apps such as a digital notepad, digital photo viewer, timer, etc. It's all Android-based.
Well, there's just one thing. Most of the selections have to manually managed. Have five apples in your fridge and decided to munch on one? You have to manually subtract one apple from the database or it'll still think there's five. Until there are sensors inside of the fridge that can automatically keep track of what's in there, a real "smart" fridge is a ways off. LG's fridge just feels like more work than it's worth.
Interestingly enough, the fridge can actually start up the next home appliance on this list.
3. Smart Oven
Yep, if you find a recipe that you want to cook up and select it from the app or Smart Refrigerator, it can automatically pre-heat your oven or turn on your stove.
Equipped with infrared grill tech, the Smart Oven can also cook food 20 percent faster than regular stoves. Think of how fast you can cook up a grilled cheese sandwich.
Other instances have the Smart Oven beaming temperature to your phone/tabet and reminding you when your pie or pot roast is done. Never burn your food again!
4. Smart Washer and Dryer
Just like the Smart Oven, the washer and dryer and can alert you to when your washed garments are done and when to transfer them to the dryer. Never again will you have any excuse to not remember to pull the clothes out of the washer or dryer. Your smartphone will annoyingly remind you until you've done the deed.
5. Blast Chiller
One of the coolest innovations at LG's CES booth was this drink chiller. It's built directly into one of the company's refrigerators that costs about $3,300. In about four minutes, it can instantly chill a 12 ounce canned drink or two cans or a bottle of wine in eight minutes.
Think of it like Doctor Freeze giving your beer or soda a good cold shot. The Blast Chiller does so by lightly rocking the drink back and forth with zero degree air from the freezer. As a result, the drink, even if it's a bottle of champagne it won't explode when you pop it open.
There is a downside, though. After about six consecutive blast-chilled drinks, the Blast Chiller needs to rejuvenate for about an hour before it can insta-cold any more drinks. So, no blast-chilling drinks for a party of pals.
6. HOM-Bot Robotic Vacuum
LG's little vacuum looks like a Roomba but it's a little more advanced than one. It maps out your entire house and has three cameras and a speaker, all controllable through an app, so it can double as a remote security spy cam. Catch your pets clawing up your furniture or your kids stealing cookies from the jar? Remotely tell them off!
Also, unlike the Roomba, the HOM-Bot has enough sensors around its body that it'll never bump into the wall or objects.
As if that's not enough, when it's battery is low, the vacuum will return back to its charging dock and juice up. A Roomba can do that, but the HOM-Bot does one better: it knows the exact location it left off before it goes to charge, and heads back after to clean up whatever dirt mound it left behind.
Posted on location at CES 2012 in Las Vegas.