The future of appliances evokes memories of the Jetsens….

January 9, 2011 at 9:18 am 1 comment

We have all become accustomed to our smart phones and having internet access whenever we want it.  So how would you feel if your washing machine sent you a text?

Yes, it’s true, this certainly is the direction our appliances our going, according to a recent article on CNN.com, from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES).  I am very excited about this continued technology expansion into our everyday items, as the design will benefit everyone, not just your gadget-lover.

One item on display at the show that has great benefits for everyone is the bathroom scale with a Wi-Fi connection, by Withings.  The scale will tweet your weight and/or it can connect to an iPhone to create a graph of the weight.  This concept can also be found in a lot of in-home monitoring systems currently on the market for seniors, such as GrandCare Systems.  This is convenient way for a caregiver to keep track of their loved one’s weight and monitor for changes.  This is an example of a concept that has been in the “senior market” for a while but has now found a mainstream marketing strategy.

The second item that I am excited about is smart fridge from LG.  The refrigerator “claims to know what food you’re storing and when it will go bad.”  In order for this to occur, however, the owner would need to input the food that they are storing on the specific shelves and enter expiration dates.  The fridge would then use a “tagging technology” that would send a text to the owner that a food item has gone bad.  This feature would be just as beneficial to the very busy family as it would be to seniors aging in place.  As we age, we all go through a slow progression of sensory losses including vision, taste and smell.  It is because this decline is gradual, an older person may not be aware that a decline in taste or smell acuity has occurred.  This refrigerator, although a high-end option, is a back-up system to monitor and maintain safe food consumption.

I am excited about the continued growth of smart home and appliance technology.  Although it certainly is not a new concept, perhaps continued mainstream marketing, and the hope that some of the prices will drop, will create more demand for these items as they truly have universal appeal.

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Entry filed under: Aging-In-Place design, Kitchen products, Universal Design. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

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