Smart Home Technology: 7 Surprising Features
Lights, cams, doors, security — many homeowners know the basics about home automation and smart home technology. But there’s a whole array of fun smart home features that you’ve never dreamed of, from watering plants to feeding pets.
Lights, cams, doors, security — many homeowners know the basics about home automation and smart home technology. But smart homes go far beyond these basic functions, if you know where to look. Here are a few examples of just how deep smart home features can get.
1. The Color of Your Lights
Smart light bulbs are far from an oddity in homes — it’s hard to find a smart home system these days that isn’t compatible with some sort of light system. But color-changing options are probably not something that you would expect in the average smart house. However, thanks to LED creations by brands, most notably the Philips Hue bulb, you can indeed shift the color of your lights to a variety of different shades across the spectrum.
This is handy for both fun and atmospheric controls. The latest versions of the Hue system even allow you to set the lights to work in sync with movies or music for more entertainment options.
2. Watering Plants
However many smart home technology tricks you’ve heard about, you probably haven’t heard of any that can actually help you water plants. But this particular task does indeed have its own set of smart home devices. They tend to use a combination of sensors and databases on houseplants to help investigate the soil: Then they can send reminders and information about watering your plants, adding fertilizer, and more. Options range from the well-developed Parrot devices to crowdfunded efforts like Daisy.
3. Feeding Pets
Much like watering plants, feeding your pets is just one of those things that feels firmly in the world of human agency: It’s your responsibility, and an app can’t do it. But the truth is that certain devices have a lot to offer. One of the best examples is the Petnet SmartFeeder, which can ration out food to your pets based on smartphone schedules and advise daily food amounts or warn you when food is low.
4. Vacuum Cleaners
Vacuum cleaners have been able to amble around on their own since the rise of the Roomba, but that doesn’t necessarily make them smart. The LG Hom-Bot is one of the new class, with smart tech that lets you look out through a camera, control the bot from your home, and let the bot head back to its charging station through your wireless network. Dyson is also working on a smart version of its own called the 360 Eye with similar capabilities.
5. Air Conditioning
Smart thermostats are the front and center of most smart home technology systems: Everyone has a thermostat, and they really do have the ability to make your life easier and more affordable. But we’re not talking about those systems — we’re talking about room-based air conditioners for on-spot cooling, like the Aros. The Aros operates with advanced app options via the Wink app. Control the air conditioner from anywhere, make sure it is in the right mode, or shut down at the right times. You’ll never want to use old fans again.
6. Your Toothbrush
Buy the right Oral-B toothbrush, and you can get a whole array of smart modes to play with, including different settings, a smartguide to train you on how to use it, pressure sensors that can help you modify your brushing, and more.
7. Your Mirror
Thanks to efforts by LG and others, smart mirrors are also showing up. These mirrors can project a variety of early morning info including your schedule, your shopping lists, weather conditions, and even fashion data.