A CES 2011 First: Smart Appliances Share Top Billing with TVs
LAS VEGAS -- LG unveiled a line of smart appliances packed with enough technology to give humble kitchen appliances equal billing with the latest home entertainment components.
"We see the merging of consumer electronics with appliances . For the first time, appliances are smart enough to earn their place at CES," Wayne Park, the president and chief executive of LG USA, said today (Jan. 5) at the Consumer Electronics Show.
Powered by what LG calls THINQ Technology, the appliances can be programmed to send text messages to mobile phones or tablets, download new recipes and operating cycles, report mechanical problems and optimize energy use.
Freezer door open? Oven left on? Washing machine off-balance? The offending appliance will text its owner via a Wi-Fi connection.
"Imagine an oven that is so smart that on the day of the big game, it sends you a text message saying your roast is about done," Dr. Skott Ahn, technology officer for LG, said.
The oven also offers precision baking, so that cookies turn out exactly the same way each time you bake them, according to Ahn.
"Imagine a refrigerator that sends you a text message shopping list while you're at the store to let you know what you're running low on, and that same refrigerator has the ability to tell you some of your food is about to expire," he said.
Of course, the refrigerator will need some help from its owners. By dragging and dropping food icons on the refrigerator's LCD display or by using the voice recognition function, users can easily identify what is in the refrigerator, as well as where certain items are located and when their freshness date expires. The refrigerator uses this information to generate subsequent alerts.
"Imagine a robot that is able to clean your home knowing exactly what your room looks like, exactly where it is in the room and exactly which points in the room it has yet to get to," Ahn said.
The Hom-Bot also can be programmed remotely. Will last-minute guests be arriving at your home at the same time you will? Start the Hom-Bot from the office, and everyone can arrive to clean floors.
Like firmware upgrades for most consumer electronics, LG smart appliances will receive service and technology updates via their Wi-Fi connections. No longer will consumers have to replace an appliance to get the latest feature.
LG expects to release its line of smart appliances this year. Prices were not available today.