Tech design choices for the home


There’s no doubt about it: homes are getting smarter. From the curtains that open for you in the morning to the pillow that sings you to sleep at night, more and more everyday objects are adapting to better suit your needs – including needs that you might not have realized that you had. You don’t need to go whole hog with smart living in order to benefit from these, and you don’t have to spend a fortune. Instead, you can incorporate useful gadgets into your home one at a time and control many of them wirelessly. You can even get them to interact and anticipate your needs.

Hot ways to keep cool

Some of the most useful gadgets made available by the smart revolution stem from really simple ideas. Smart thermostats now let you change the temperature of your home – or even individual rooms within it – remotely, so if you’re on your way home from work, for instance, you can warm up the living room before arriving to relax on the sofa. When you use them frequently, they learn your daily routine so that they can do what you need without needing to be told. You can also connect them to a range of fitness apps so that they know when you’ve just woken up, or when you’ve been out running, they can prepare hot water for you to take a shower.

What’s cooking?

The place where smart technologies have made the biggest impact is probably in the kitchen. Fridges that keep track of your shopping needs and washing machines that adjust settings automatically may seem like a big investment, but there are also lots of smaller things available, from machines designed to cook each part of your breakfast to perfection at the same time to coffee machines that you can activate remotely so that when you stagger through to the kitchen in the morning, a freshly brewed cup is waiting for you. There are even indoor barbecues that will grill your food perfectly without letting any smoke leak out – and let your phone know when it’s time for you to eat.

Light up your life

Lighting gadgets can be incredibly handy for solving small but commonplace problems. Being able to turn on the hall light before you let yourself in through the front door can save you from tripping over the mail or the dog. Turning off the lights by remote control is easier than crossing from the light switch to your bed in the dark. A simple lighted outlet cover can help you get around in the night without disturbing others. Adjusting the color of lights or setting them to adjust automatically, which is easy with environmentally friendly LED lighting, means that you can create a more natural light pattern that suits your body rhythms and aids sleep.

That’s entertainment

Wireless connectivity, together with the continually falling cost of good-quality screens, is revolutionizing the way that home entertainment works. It’s now a simple matter to show the same program on several different screens around your home, so you can follow your favorite sitcom even when you’re running around doing the housework. You can also display different channels in different rooms, all stemming from the same device, and record others at the same time. Music and other audio, such as podcasts, can be approached in much the same way, and it’s even possible to get bath toys that will play your audio files.

A clean sweep

Acquiring new things is always exciting, but the more you have in your home, the more trouble it can be to keep clean. At least, that’s how things used to work. Today, you can get robots to do a lot of the cleaning for you. Most people are now familiar with robot vacuum cleaners, but you might be surprised by how far they’ve advanced in recent years, getting smaller and quieter and better at finding their way around. You can now also get robots designed to mop your kitchen and bathroom floors, and you can even get a robot to mow your lawn. What’s more, you can check up on all of them from your phone, so you can do the housework without having to get up off the couch.

All these great gadgets mean that life can be much easier for those who want to take the plunge, but the important thing is to assemble them on your own terms. Don’t let the marketing men tell you what to do – select the gadgets that you find useful and create a home that runs the way that you always dreamed it would.

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