The future’s looking bright — for you and your home. Rachel Rothman, Chief Technologist at the Good Housekeeping Institute, talks what’s in store for next year in home connectivity.
1. We’ll enter the era of the 4K TV.
If you thought you could see newscaster’s pores before, just wait until you get your hands on a 4K TV which has — you guessed it — has four times the resolution as a high-def TV. Thanks to hefty price tags, they haven’t been popular, but this year, those prices are dropping (we’ve seen them on sale for $379). Plus, more content providers are making their shows and movies available in 4K. So, if you happen to be on the market for a new TV, Rothman says the 4K is the way to go.
2. Your food will cook itself.
New versions of slow cookers, tea kettles, and coffee machines tap into your home’s Wi-Fi, allowing you to control them via an app on your phone. Think: turning on “brew” from bed so your coffee is waiting for you when you get up and programming an oven to perfectly cook your roast without your stabbing it with a meat thermometer.
3. Plus, your fridge will know what grub you have left.
Samsung Family Hub Fridge’s built-in cameras take a snapshot when you close the door, which you can then access from your smartphone while you’re perusing the grocery aisles. In the future, they may even be able to tell how long your broccoli’s been in there and when your leftovers have turned. Yum!
4. Smart plugs will give your home a Jetsons vibe.
Say you want to turn your lamps on so that the house is bright before you get home. Or you’re in bed when you realize your teen left the TV on downstairs…again. You can control smart plugs like iDevices from an app on your phone, so you never have to walk over and turn a switch.
5. Those plugs can keep you safe, too.
The Brio Safe Outlet will only deliver electrical current if it senses a plug — not a tiny finger. And Brio’s Smart Outlet will alert you if there’s smoke or Co2, so can breathe easy. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)
6. Appliances will soon be able to fix themselves…
Eventually, your gadgets will be able to communicate with repair technicians about what parts need to be replaced, says Sharon Franke, director of the GH Institute Kitchen Appliances and Technology Lab.
7. …and turn on when you ask them.
Voice-activation platforms like Apple HomeKit and Works with Nest allow you to control some of your devices with Siri and Amazon Echo. Also look forward to Google Home, which should launch at the end of 2016 — it too boasts a central home hub and voice control.
8. You’ll stop dreading laundry.
Look out for the LG Twin Wash System, which lets you outfit a new or compatible LG washing system with a mini washer below the full-sized one. That means you’ll save time and money when you’re just flinging in a dress for tonight’s event — or doing a load for your kid’s beloved (and juice-covered) bunny.
9. Your yoga mat will fix your downward dog.
Your pigeon may not be perfect, but the SmartMat’s sensors will tell you how to correct your pose. Set it to home mode and you can hook up with a yoga class on the app, because we could all use a little more om in in our lives.