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.
Take the guesswork out of watering with Moneual's Smart Communicator Plant Care SC3000. This monitor plugs right into the soil and keeps tabs on moisture and sunlight levels, and the plant's general health. You can hook it up to social media (Just think, a tree that tweets!) and it will alert you via the device's display screen or text message if your plant needs a little TLC.
Keypad locks are nothing new, but Schlage's Touchscreen Deadbolt takes the technology to the next level. The touchscreen in this lock is capable of storing up to 30 custom codes that can be tailored to specific times and days of the week or set to expire. The unit's built-in alarm technology will alert homeowners if someone tries to tamper with the lock or force the door to open, and users can lock and unlock the door remotely with Schlage's app or via Nexia's smart home hub. The deadbolt will be available mid-January for $199-$299.
It never seems like you can have enough fridge or freezer space when company's coming over. Samsung is hoping to make hosting a little easier with the 32 cu. ft.-capacity T9000 four-door refrigerator. This model is a French-door refrigerator on top, with dual compartments on the bottom — a freezer, and a flexible section that can be used for fresh food storage or as additional freezer space.
The fridge is also outfitted with a display for apps and recipes. Expect to see this premium model in stores in spring 2013, retailing for $3,999.
Whether it's watching your own vitals or keeping tabs on a loved one, the ability to monitor your healthcare without having to see a doctor can be a real time (and worry) saver. Bosch’s Health Buddy allows care providers to keep track of the most crucial patient statistics remotely via a user-friendly device and simple-to-navigate desktop application.
The health management programs cover a range of range of conditions from chronic illnesses to post-discharge recovery and pair health education and position reinforcement with symptom review and vital-sign monitoring. Information can be transmitted to care providers multiple times a day.
Connected Home Hub
Smart appliances are less helpful when you have to have a different app for every device in your house. Companies like Nexia are looking to fill that need with a single hub to manage all of your home tech. Nexia's system lets you integrate a broad range of compatible devices using their straightforward online and mobile dashboard as a home command center. Right now, the smart home system covers services ranging from door locks and video surveillance to heating and cooling systems and lighting, and Nexia is continuing to bring on more partners.
Starter kits are available now and subscriptions begin at $8.99 per month.
More from Good Housekeeping:
32 Household Items That Do Double Duty
The Best Hairstyles on Celebs Over 40
Tone Your Thighs In Under One Month
16 Ways To Fake A Clean Home – Fast!