We saw a bunch of interesting small appliances at this year’s show. Possibly the coolest: Haier was showing off a wireless kitchen countertop blender. This futuristic gadget uses coupling technology to remotely receive energy via a transmitter, so you don’t have to crowd your counter with unsightly wires whether making a smoothie or just leaving the blender on the counter for display. It's only available in Asia for now, but we hope to see this appliance stateside someday soon.
Whirlpool's FreshConnect cooling system may be just a concept right now, but we love the idea of portable micro-refrigeration. The setup consists of totable, battery-powered units that can change temperature and humidity settings on the fly (and be customized to contents, like meats, fruits, or frozen foods).
If one is placed outside the front door, it could hold grocery deliveries until you get home. In the house, a compartment could allow you to keep snacks cold in the family room or drinks in the dining room. Whirlpool suggests this could even be a great way to create ideal conditions for growing plants. We're excited to see what other great applications this system could have in the future.
DIY Home Monitoring
It's easier than ever to set up your own home surveillance system as web-enabled cameras and arrays become less expensive, easier to install, and more feature-rich. ClearView's IPPTZ-87 camera records in high definition for clear streaming video and features two-way audio capabilities (for chats with loved ones while you're on the road).
You can set it up with a motion sensor if you don't want ongoing video and monitor your home via the web or Clearview's app for iPhone, iPad, Android, or Windows Phone. The camera will be available in the first quarter of 2013 and retail for $399.
Wirelessly Controlled Lighting
Up to 25 percent of the energy used in your home can be consumed by lighting, according to GreenWave; their new Energy Star certified LED bulbs are one easy solution to cut those costs through smart management. These lights come with Internet connectivity built in to connect seamlessly with your phone, laptop, and even your TV (if it has Web capabilities). Using GreenWave's app, you can merely turn the lights in your home on and off, or program them to adapt to outdoor light levels, motion sensors, or even adjust the color of the lighting based on the time of day.
The bulbs were announced in late 2012 and are available in Europe now (with a U.S. release soon to follow).
Smarter Washing Machine
Ever wish your washer could fix itself? You're in luck! LG has expanded its Smart ThinQ product line to include its latest line of washing machines. The new models are equipped with LG's Smart Diagnosis, which will alert you to technical issues and allow you to run diagnostics on the appliance without a technician present.
The new washers are also outfitted with a handy Smart Adapt technology, so you can "download" new wash cycles as your laundry needs change (like a "Baby Sanitize" cycle for a new little one in the house). And with Smart Access you can turn your machine off remotely (though not on, for safety reasons). The new units are smart grid-ready as well, to help you save money.