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CES 2014: Household roundup


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Alongside the TVs and tablets, CES is also home to the future of... homes. LG had smarter washing machines and robot vacuums that you can turn on by texting with everyday language, while Samsung introduced an entirely new ecosystem: one it's inviting third-party hardware companies to join. Qualcomm had a similar proposition with AllJoyn: Some companies are looking to dominate smart homes. This tech will come to your house. In Vegas, however, it's often the smaller companies that pique our interest. Don't we all want an appliance to automatically marinate our meat?

Smarter homes

LG and Samsung are old stalwarts of the household sector of CES, but we also saw the likes of Panasonic staking a claim, with a new voice-activated pendant that allowed you to control TVs and other internet-linked appliances (not only Panasonic ones). With it, a "good morning" could open your curtains or turn on the TV to your favorite morning fare. Again, Panasonic promises it'll understand natural language, too. Beyond your home theater and kitchen, Sleep Number's x12 smart bed monitors sleeping patterns, heart rates and -- most importantly -- features a Partner Snore function that will raise the guilty party's head, and hopefully jog them out of it.

SmartThings has taken its series of sensors and added richer app interfaces, buddying up with Sonos, WeMo and Philips Hue, making the notion of low-energy sensors and unobtrusive installation -- you just stick the sensor where you need it -- an even better proposition. We have several editors already testing out (and in love with) the SmartThings system.

Smarter cooking

Alongside the explosion in wearables, sensors and processors are also elbowing their way into smaller household appliances. From a distance, Belkin's Crock-Pot WeMo slow cooker looks a lot like any other slow cooker, but this one ties to a WeMo app that lets you adjust temperatures and set timers without being in the kitchen. Belkin is also promising more WeMO-compatible devices (including space heaters) very soon.

Then there was Mr. Marinator. It's not all that smart, but it marinates meat. It revolves your favorite cut in a soup of deliciousness. For however long you want. It should probably win some kind of award.

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