LG rolls out 'smart' cooking, cleaning, cooling appliances

At CES 2011, LG unveiled a completely new line of "smart," connected home appliances that it says will make chores easier and save energy, time and money.
Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor

LAS VEGAS -- LG on Wednesday unveiled a completely new line of "smart," connected home appliances that it says will make chores easier and save energy, time and money.

The common thread among the appliances is LG's Thinq platform, which allows them to connect to the smart grid, diagnose themselves and allow for more fine-tuned (read: set-and-forget) management.

Revealed here at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show were LG's new networked refrigerators, washing machines, ovens and robotic vacuum cleaners.

For example:

  • A connected washing machine can use “Recommend Time” and “Lowest Rate” options to wash clothes at the most cost-effective times. This is good for time-of-day pricing that's beginning to roll out across the country.
  • A smart oven offers varying cost options that take into account the duration and electrical cost of the cooking. Quite simply, you'll know how much that Thanksgiving turkey will cost to bake.
  • Finally, intelligent refrigerators can adjust their functions to save on energy bills at peak times, or ramp up cooling power when energy rates are low.

Further, self-diagnosis allows the appliance to be a little more self-aware; a Wi-Fi connected fridge can send an alert to your smartphone or tablet when your son leaves the door open before running out the door to school. The intelligence also helps service technicians more carefully pinpoint problems with the appliance.

This connectivity also allows you to monitor progress from afar; for example, you can check on-the-go whether the washing machine has finished its load, or whether that pot roast is ready for eating. And with a robotic vacuum cleaner, you can instruct it to clean up, even if you're at the supermarket shopping.

Perhaps my favorite feature? What LG calls "food management" -- that is, tracking the expiration dates of the food in your fridge. I'm not yet sure exactly how it works, but it's a magical little feature that could help save me money (instead of throwing it down the garbage disposal.)

The appliances LG is introducing along with the platform:

  • Washers with six different washing motions, low-energy wash modes, and steam power to remove dirt and wrinkles.
  • Refrigerators with slimmer ice systems, convertible drawers and more energy-efficient compressors.
  • A 6.7 cu. ft. double oven with infrared technology that cooks food faster using less energy.
  • Two vacuum cleaners: an upright model that compresses dirt to hold more, and a Roomba-like robotic vacuum cleaner called HOM-BOT equipped with a camera and ultrasonic and infrared sensors.
  • More energy-efficient dishwashers.

So what's it all mean? Simple: tech companies want to help your home get smarter, with hope that intelligent home automation is mutually beneficial.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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