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The future is now: 10 smart gadgets for your home

Karl Fendelander | Improvement Center Columnist | October 25, 2012

The future has arrived. Though we don't quite have flying cars or colonies on Mars, it's clear technology has taken over and exceeded what only half-a-century ago was the stuff of futuristic fantasy for our parents. Robots vacuum the house while you're out and nearly everywhere you look there are pocket-sized smartphones and tablets more powerful than the bulky computers of ten years ago.

10 hot gadgets for the home

Cooking, cleaning, caffeinating and even mowing the lawn -- they're all easier than ever before thanks to these handy home gadgets. Check out what home life in the 21st century looks like:

  1. Lockitron. Fumbling for keys is totally passé; why not let your smartphone open the door for you? Lockitron attaches easily to pretty much any standard deadbolt, works on any phone (it even responds to texts if you aren't on the smartphone train yet) and has more features than you knew you wanted from a lock. Share or restrict access with other users. Get notifications when your door is unlocked; unlock it just by walking towards it (with newer Bluetooth devices). Don't worry about whether or not you locked the door ever again.
  2. Craftsman AssureLink Garage Door Opener. This is another gadget that lets you open, close or check the status of a door -- but this time, it's the garage door. This gadget can save a lot of hassle, and it even works when the power goes out (with optional battery backup).
  3. Twine. One of the coolest devices hitting the market soon is Twine. This gadget can be set up with several different sensors to let you know when things are going down at your home. Built-in sensors notify you about temperature, vibration and orientation, and you can plug in other sensors like the magnetic switch, moisture sensor -- or any digital or analog sensor you want, thanks to the easy, solder-free hook ups. The software sets up easily to notify you via Twitter, email, text, programmable HTML or Pebble smartwatch. This versatile little gadget is 2.7 inches square and super portable. Get notified when a door opens, your laundry finishes, things get too hot or cold at home, if something floods -- and whatever else you can imagine and rig up.
    gadgets for the home
  4. Smart Baby Monitor. This fancy little monitor from Withings gives you live video, two-way talk capability and all sorts of info about your baby (or whatever else you're surveilling) with alerts for noise, temperature, movement and humidity -- all from any Internet capable or iOS device.
  5. Nest 2G. The Nest is the smartest thermostat ever. Unlike most digital thermostats, it's easily programmable, it learns and it's compatible with most smartphones and tablets -- and most heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems. The second-generation Nest is even slimmer, smarter and more compatible than its predecessor, working with 95 percent of HVAC systems. You've never had this much fun with a thermostat.
  6. iChef Oven. Never wonder about how long to bake something again with the iChef Oven. Thanks to a built-in touch screen computer, replete with cookbook, this oven can be programmed to change temps at certain times. With the built-in internal temperature probe and timers you can, for example, put a frozen roast in when you leave for work, set it to defrost, cook and then stay warm for you when you come in the door.
  7. Scanomat TopBrewer. One of the coolest things that has ever come out of a kitchen counter, the Scanomat TopBrewer looks like a fancy, sink-free faucet -- but it dispenses coffee and espresso drinks a cup at a time. Everything except the tap is tucked below the counter, which is functional and flashy. You can even control it from your smartphone. Nothing beats being able to tell a machine to make you a macchiato without getting out of bed.
  8. KitchenAid In-sink Dishwasher. Owners of dishwasher-free older homes, rejoice! Your sink savior has arrived. This handy little unit fits five place settings and in the space of your single sink. It's got a small sink on the side, and when closed it provides extra counter space. No more hand washing for you.
  9. iRobot Scooba 290. Famous for making the robotic vacuum Roomba, iRobot is bringing another robot into your home -- and this one does bathrooms. Just six inches in diameter and only three-and-a-half inches tall, the Scooba 290 can fit into those tiny spaces around your toilet to scrub the floor.
  10. John Deere Robomower. A great addition to your growing fleet of robots, the Robomower from John Deere mows your lawn while you're out doing more important things. This rugged little machine is fully programmable, has tough wheels that can take it all over your lawn and is backed by a great brand. Just think: fresh perfectly cut grass every day at the touch of a button.

Bring home any of these devices, and make your life easier. The future is here, and it's awesome.

About the Author

Karl Fendelander cut his teeth on web writing in the late nineties and has been plugged in to the newest technology and tuned in to the latest trends ever since. When he unplugs, Karl can be found biking about town and hiking and climbing throughout the West.