It seems you can’t buy anything these days that can’t be connected to the internet in some way. While not all of these items are useful or even practical, there are some Internet of Things and smart home gadgets that can actually make our lives better, or at least more convenient. Whether it’s keeping us safe or making sure we get to the budget meeting on time, here are some of the coolest and most useful smart home gadgets hitting the scene.
DigitalSTROM is a means of creating a connected home that doesn’t require installing any new wires, but rather works from your home’s existing power lines. By installing small, color-coded modules that resemble Legos into the electrical boxes that power your existing light switches, lamps, and receptacles, and a digitalSTROM Meter and Server inside your circuit breaker panel, you can potentially wire your entire home to recognize faces and gestures, and adjust the settings of lighting, appliances, heating and cooling, and more, to your personal preferences.
The catch is that DigitalSTROM is not yet available in the U.S. (but coming soon) and requires professional installation, but when it is available, it will allow owners of older homes to bring them up to modern smart home standards without too much disruption.
2. Roost Smart Battery
A smoke detector is an important tool in protecting your family and your home in the case of a fire. But if you aren’t at home when the detector sounds, it’s usually too late before anyone notices the blaze and calls for help. The Roost Smart Battery aims to help with this issue. When you outfit your smoke or carbon monoxide detector with one of these Wi-Fi-enabled batteries and it goes off, the battery sends an alert to all of the smartphones that have been connected to the device — meaning that you or your neighbors could call for help and prevent a catastrophe. Best of all, the Wi-Fi module can be separated from the battery, meaning that you only have to replace the battery rather than the whole device when necessary.
3. Sensorwake Alarm Clock
Is there anything worse than the sound of the alarm going off in the morning? Or hitting the snooze button half a dozen times before you finally realize that you are late for work? Well, inventors have been hard at work to make the process of waking up, if not pleasant, at least a little less horrid. For example, the Sensorwake Alarm Clock will emit specific smells, such as chocolate, peppermint, espresso, and bacon, to ease you out of your slumber. The clock works via scent capsules, each of which lasts for about a month. If a smell isn’t going to do the trick, check out one of the new alarm clock mats, which will only turn off if you actually get out of bed and step on them.
4. Smart Refrigerator Mats
Who hasn’t gone to the grocery store and wondered if they are out of milk or another staple — and then made the wrong decision? With today’s smart appliances, those days may be over. For example, the Samsung Family Hub Fridge has built in cameras that can take a snap of the contents of your refrigerator and send it to you when you are in the grocery store. Or you can try the Smarter Mat, which weighs the containers on the shelves andlets you know when it’s time to buy more. The days of not having enough milk for your cereal could be over!
5. Smart Fitness Gear
Can’t make it to a yoga class? No worries. If you use a SmartMat for your home workout, the embedded sensors can tell you how to correct your pose as you follow along with a yoga class in the included app. SmartMats join a host of other connected fitness products, including sneakers and workout clothing embedded with sensors that can count your steps, monitor your heart rate, and even let you know when it’s time to rehydrate. Your workouts will never be the same.
6. Smart TV’s
Smart TV’s have been gaining momentum in recent years, and the latest models have become more than just a means to catch the latest episodes of “Game of Thrones.” Samsung’s smart TV’s have become true hubs, with the ability to control more than 200 SmartThings modules and sensors, as well as ZigBee enabled smart devices. Imagine being able to do everything from adjust the room temperature and lighting to finding your smartphone with your television remote — and this is what smart TV’s allow.
7. Smart Plugs
For parents, electrical outlets are often a cause of concern. With the Brio Safe Outlet, though, the outlet is equipped with sensors that will only deliver a current if they sense a plug, making them a big step up from the plastic outlet covers most parents are using. For an even safer outlet, try the Brio SmartOutlet that also serves as a smoke and carbon monoxide detector.
These gadgets represent only a small fraction of the connected devices hitting the market — and more are coming. But if you want to turn your home into a “smart home,” these products are a great place to start.