It’s hard to imagine there was a time when touchscreens didn’t exist. High-tech gadgets have become an integral part of our everyday lives – from smartphones to laptops to tablets, we’ve become reliant on technology that allows us to talk, stream movies, and keep connected, so it’s not surprising that we also want technological advances to help automate our modern homes, make them more efficient and make life easier. Futuristic home gadgets, appliances and devices solve a variety of problems, from keeping our homes safe to regulating our indoor environment. Take a look at some of these futuristic 21st century innovations designed to give you complete control of your daily domestic life.
Smart Door Lock
Never worry about digging for your keychain again. The August Smart Lock Keyless Home Entry is an easy-to-install security device that fits over your existing deadbolt to provide an extra layer of home security and protection. Compatible with Bluetooth-enabled devices like Android and Apple iOS, the lock allows for easy, keyless entry, and automatically recognizes your smart device and unlocks your door as you approach. In addition, you can use it to dictate who can enter your home remotely from anywhere. It is also compatible with Nest smart thermostats, turning your home comfort system on when you lock your door. The August Smart Lock is available on Amazon for $164.59.
If you’re like most homeowners, your TV is the focal point of your living room, even when not in use. But now, thanks to transparent TV, it doesn’t have to be. While it hasn’t hit the shelves yet, this jet-age innovation combines the latest TOLED display technology with conventional LCD, allowing non-transparent, rich color reproduction viewing that utilizes gesture technology — one wave of your hand and it disappears — allowing whatever is behind the TV to be seen. Designed by Michael Friebe, the Loewe Invisio television design was rolled out in 2012, but no word yet on when it might be available. Panasonic showed their own Invisible TV at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in early January 2016, so it’s possible you could have your own transparent TV very soon.
Window Cleaning Robot
If you are like many homeowners, cleaning dirty windows is probably one of your least favorite chores. Ecovacs Robotics to the rescue! Their WINBOT W830 window cleaning robot is an invaluable little helper – built-in sensors allow it to identify obstacles and window edges, and thanks to a smart suction fan, it can not only clean horizontal surfaces, but also a variety of other surfaces including framed or unframed vertical glass. Its one touch operation makes it easy to use, and it features automatic “N” or “Z” paths for effective cleaning. $399.99, Available at Ecovacs Robotics.
Floor Plan Light Switch
If you have an open floor plan, you may have multiple light switch panels in one location, making it difficult to remember exactly which switch turns on the chandelier in the dining room, the overhead kitchen lights, or the backyard patio lights. Rather than guessing by flipping multiple switches, the Floor Plan Light Switch, created by designer Taewon Hwang of Yanko Design, is a wall-mounted touchpad featuring your own custom floor plan. Touch the space or room you want illuminated and remove all the guesswork. The device isn’t available yet, but until it is, check out the Wi-Fi enabled Belkin WeMo Light Switch. It’s compatible with any one-way wall light switch and is operated through your Android or iOS. The WeMo Light Switch is available at Belkin for $49.99.
Digital Measuring Spoon Scale
Never ruin another recipe with inaccurate measurements. The Starfrit Digital Spoon Scale makes measuring exact quantities of dry or liquid ingredients a snap, without having to dig through a tangle of utensils in your kitchen drawer. The LCD screen in the molded handle makes it easy to ensure you are only adding 1 teaspoon of garlic powder or one cup of soymilk to your favorite recipe, and converts amounts to ounces or grams for dry foods, and cups, milliliters, tablespoons and teaspoons for liquid volumes. $39.99, Available at The Sharper Image.
UV Toothbrush Sanitizer
No need to neglect technology in the bathroom – the Violife Zapi Luxe individual toothbrush sanitizer sports a sleek Jetson-approved design with oral hygiene benefits. The American Dental Association recommends that you replace your toothbrush every three months, or more often if you are ill, and to employ a toothbrush sanitizer in order to reduce the amount of harmful bacteria that may be lurking on the bristles. The Zapi Luxe toothbrush sanitizer uses Ultraviolet light (UV) to kill up to 99% of germs. The ergonomic design is weighted to wobble (but not tip over), and shuts off automatically after seven minutes. $39.95, Available at Violife.
Air Quality Monitor
Indoor air quality is important for you and your family’s health, but the air in your home may not be as clean as you think. From allergens to particulates to volatile organic compounds (VOCs), there are a variety of invisible pollutants floating around your home that can be hazardous to your health. The Speck indoor air quality monitor can detect fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) to instantly inform you on whether your range hood or vacuum or other appliances or activities are affecting your air quality. With a built-in Wi-Fi, your Speck can upload data to your account and keep track of your air quality in real time and on-the-go with its iOS or Android app. $149, Available at Speck.
While we’re all familiar with robot sweepers like the Roomba, they are designed to handle dry messes like crumbs or dirt – if you have a liquid spill in the kitchen, you still have to pull out the paper towels or mop. The Braava Jet Robotic Mop by iRobot solves this problem by doing double-duty. Not only can the device dry sweep, it can also damp sweep or wet mop floors clean. Its small size allows it to scoot effortlessly in and around every nook and cranny of your home to keep your hard surface flooring spotless. It’s easy to use – just fill with water, attach a cleaning pad and press play. The Braava Jet can tackle up to 100 square feet per hour, and has a powerful battery that will run for an hour and a half. Don’t worry if you have an open floor plan, because you can create a virtual wall to keep the Braava Jet working where you want it to. $199.99, Available at iRobot.
Smart Pet Feeder
It’s hard to be away from Fido or Fluffy while you’re at work or out on the town. If you leave a full bowl of food out, they may eat it all as soon as you leave, and go hungry the rest of the day. The Petnet SmartFeeder takes the worry out of leaving your pet at home. Its clever automatic pet feeder allows you to control when and how much your pet eats from afar using your smartphone (compatible with iOS 8.0 or higher). You will be able to manage your cat or dog’s portion size throughout the day and schedule preset times for feedings. The Petnet app helps you choose your pet’s food portions based on age, weight, breed, and activity level, and even delivers food to your doorstep. $149.00, Available from Petnet.
Nobody likes doing laundry, and there’s nothing worse than the mildew smell when you forget to remove your clothing from the washer and put it in the dryer. With LG’s High-Efficiency All-in-One Washer and Dryer, you don’t have to remember. Perfect for small laundry rooms, it still features a full-sized (4.3 cu. ft.) tub to handle normal laundry loads. Unlike conventional dryers, it doesn’t require an external venting source, allowing it to be tucked into unconventional spaces. Just toss your clothes in, push the buttons on the electronic control panel and walk away! $1709.10, Available at The Home Depot.