An App’s Work is Never Done: 5 Smart Devices to Help Out Around the House

Depending on which state you call home, you may be spending anywhere from 28 to 46 minutes on average on housework every day. And while this may be significantly less than the amount of time that was generally devoted to home-upkeep half a century ago, it’s still more than most of us would like to be spending on things such as vacuuming, doing laundry, etc. Thankfully, as technology continues to advance and our homes become more automated, we’ll soon see even more of our time being freed-up for more interesting, entertaining, or rewarding pursuits. Here are five soon-to-be-commonplace home devices that will free us all from the merciless task-master that is housekeeping.

  1. Robotic vacuum cleaners

The air you breath may seem clean, and for the most part it is. However, hidden within the drafts and gusts that circulate through your home are tiny bits of particulate matter. Dirt, lint, flakes of dead skin, insect parts—all are small enough to be carried easily through the air without your noticing, but they still have weight. Eventually they settle down, and when they do, they collect on surfaces, especially the floor. We combat this menace by hauling out the vacuum cleaner or broom, but it’s a war that is ongoing. Roomba is an automated weapon designed to help you fight that war. In essence, it’s a robotic vacuum cleaner which regularly patrols your home, vacuuming up dirt and debris as it goes. When it runs low on battery power, it simply returns to its docking station for a recharge. It can even be set to only operate at night, so you won’t have to worry about tripping over it while you’re moving around the house.

  1. Smart washing machines and dryers

Thanks to the washer and dryer, most of us will never have to worry about breaking our backs over a washboard or dealing with frozen laundry on clotheslines during the winter. But just because our laundry appliances are already amazing, it doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s no room for improvement. LG has been developing smart washers and dryers that make it possible to monitor laundry status remotely, communicating the remaining time directly to your mobile device, and sending messages when cycles are completed. They also feature Smart Diagnosis, which means that should something go wrong, the machine itself will do its best to solve the problem on its own. You can also directly download updates as well as specific instructions tailored to wash-types.

  1. Smart Sprinklers

Sprinkler systems that automatically turn on at specific times are probably the only thing keeping our lawns green throughout the long, hot days of summer. Of course, having sprinklers that turn themselves on at the same time every day isn’t always a good thing. For example, if a rain storm is currently dumping gallons and gallons of water into your yard, running your sprinklers is only going to waste money and resources. Skydrop has created a smart sprinkler controller which not only allows for remote operation of an entire sprinkler system, but one that also keeps track of local weather patterns, thus ensuring that lawns and gardens get the right amount of moisture, without forcing homeowners to manually deactivate the system every time dark clouds appear.

  1. Smart dishwasher

Speaking of water, there aren’t many chores that are as water-wasteful as washing dishes. But what can you do? Water is the universal solvent, which means that if you want to be able to reuse those dishes in any state of cleanliness, you’re going to have to run the faucet, one way or another. Still, even if you can’t wash dishes without wasting water, you can reduce the environmental impact of your need to eat off of clean surfaces. The Whirlpool Smart Dishwasher, in addition to featuring remote access via smart devices, keeps track of how much energy is being used by the appliance. They also feature ultra-efficient running cycles, which means less water waste overall.

  1. Smart refrigerator

Grocery shopping is a pain, and never more so than when you don’t know what you need to get. Sure, you could keep a list, but that only helps with items that you consider before you leave the house. If you happen to walk through the pickle aisle and then can’t remember if you have pickles at home, then a list isn’t going to help you much. An internet-connected internal refrigerator camera, on the other hand, could save you some confusion. LG is currently developing a smart refrigerator with a built-in internal camera, so that if you ever need to see what’s happening inside your icebox, all you’ll have to do is log on through a mobile smart device. The refrigerator will also feature LG Homechat, which allows users to actually communicate with their refrigerators regarding fridge contents. The touchscreen located on the outside of the refrigerator door keeps inventory of what food is available and what’s likely to expire soon, and can even offer recipe ideas based upon what foods are inside.

So, stop wasting all of those minutes on housework. Smart technology is giving you back the time you need to follow your dreams…even if those dreams consist of taking a half-hour nap while your robotic vacuum cleaner sucks up your spilled Dorito crumbs. Hey, we didn’t say that you have to use the time well, only that smart devices would be giving you more of it.

Author: TheAnthroGeek

TheAnthroGeek has a phd in anthropology from Columbia University in NYC. But don't assume that means he knows anything!

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