The International Home & Housewares Show held recently in Chicago is a treasure trove of kitchen and bathroom gadgets, storage solutions, cutlery, and home décor. But tucked in between the displays of high-end blenders and coffee machines were a handful of smart, connected devices ideally suited for life in a high-tech home.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Bruno SmartCan: Incorporating a slew of patent-pending technologies, this smart, connected trashcan will inspire even the biggest slob to clean up. My favorite feature of the 13-gallon kitchen garbage can is a small vacuum inlet positioned at the bottom. When you place a broom in front of it, a built-in sensor triggers the inlet to start sucking away at anything you sweep near it–crumbs, dog hair, whatever. No more dealing with a dirty dustpan. The debris dumps directly into the trash bag inside the can. Bruno knows when the trash bag is almost full, and will send a notification to a companion Bruno Wi-Fi-enabled app on your smartphone. When it’s time to take the trash to the road, or buy more trash bags, Bruno will tell you that, too. A built-in storage compartment holds several bags and senses when the supply is running low. (The trashcan does require special Bruno bags for this feature to work, and Bruno co-creator Jim Howard assures us won’t cost any more than standard trash bags.) And while you’re ordering new bags–as simple as pressing a button on the app–you can take a peek at the grocery list in your app that Bruno compiled for you by scanning items as you pitched them into the can, which incidentally, requires no lifting of the lid. Yet another sensor triggers the lid to lift automatically when it detects your presence. The Bruno Smartcan is expected to be available in September for $199.
Smart Air Purifiers from Winix and Holmes: Indoor air quality if a huge concern of many homeowners who deal with asthma and allergies, and at least two companies at the show demonstrated how Internet connectivity can make their indoor air purifiers an even more effective tool at improving the quality of indoor air. The HR1000 model from Winix, for example, comes with a companion app that provides users with real-time data on the quality of both indoor and outdoor air, historical data, and the ability to control it from anywhere, and access to the Winix online store for convenient purchase of replacement filters. “The HR series allows our customers to visually see their air purification products in action,” says Winix America marketing manager Erik Carlson. “Specifically as the air quality history is tracked, the app can help educate users on the correlation between what they are doing in their homes and their air quality. The HR1000 is AHAM certified to cover room up to 380 square feet will be available in June for $379.99.
The WeMo-enabled Smart Air Purifier from Holmes takes connectivity and control a step further by allowing users to write simple IFTTT recipes to automate the operation of the device and to connect to other WeMo-enabled products like light switches, Nest thermostats and smart plug-in modules. For example, an IFTTT recipe could command the air purifier to react to changing weather conditions or when the Nest thermostat is set in away mode. The WeMo-enabled Smart Air Purifier retails for $199.99.
Gourmia IoT Multi-Cooker Kitchen Machine. Say goodbye to cutting boards, pots and pans, and deciphering complicated recipes. The Gourmia does all the chopping, cooking and recipe reading for you–and takes up no more space on your kitchen countertop than a food processor. Just find a recipe you like via the companion mobile app and download it into the Wi-Fi connected device. A built-in 7-inch touchpanel walks you through the process, prompting you when it’s time to add an ingredient. Should you add too much or not enough, a built-in scale triggers a notification. Soups and sauces, steamed veggies and fish, smoothies and more can be expertly prepared by the multi-functional device which sells for $599.00
Simplehuman Smart Vanity Mirror. You’ve got to be a little vain to appreciate the features embedded in a new mirror by Simplehuman, but they are interesting, nonetheless. The $400 mirror can be controlled via an app, which lets users adjust its integrated lighting LED lighting, as well as create a custom light mode based on a user’s selfie. Say you’re wondering what kind of makeup looks best at your office. You can snap a selfie at your desk, send it to the mirror, and the mirror will replicate the lighting so your eyeliner can be completely on point the next time you waltz into the office. And if you’re taking too long to doll up, an integrated alarm feature–which you set via the app–can flash the lights to warn you that it’s time to go.