There doesn’t seem to be a problem smart technology can’t solve these days. With things moving so quickly, we take for granted that our smartphones give us satnav, our TVs connect to the internet, and our fridges can take selfies upon demand (OK, we’ll never quite get used to that one – gaze at the LG Selfie Fridge). But here are five problems tech solved this year that still have us slack-jawed:
1. The washing takes too long
Haier Duo Washing Machine
No more hanging around waiting to stick the next load in with Haier Duo. The clue’s in the name with this dual-drummed washing machine that lets you wash two loads at a time, allowing for a dark and white wash to go in at the same time.
And because it’s not smart unless you can control it with your phone these days, Duo has a companion smartphone app that lets you set washing spinning from wherever you are, and change the temperature and length of the washing cycle.
The upper drum has 12 different washing settings, and the lower drum has 18, including an allergen reducer, baby care, silk, and an underwear setting. The drums have what Haier is calling ‘Pillow’ technology, which means delicate clothes will slip against them without danger of damage.
No word on price yet, but it’s coming soon to Haier.com.
2. Your robot vacuum goes AWOL
A little concerned that your robot vacuum is so out of control it might one day make bid for freedom out the front door? Worry no more. Botvac maps your entire home and plans the most efficient path to take, travelling in straight lines to make a thorough job of it.
If there are parts of the house that need particular attention, you can tell Botvac exactly where you want it to clean via the smartphone app, and it’ll spring into action where it’s required.
If it runs out of juice, Botvac will go to its designated charging point to juice up, before returning to finish where it left off.
You can expect Botvac Connected to hit the shops any day now, with an estimated price of around £549.
3. Your rug doesn’t have surround sound
Panasonic Surround Sound Rug
What with these Sengled Wi-Fi lightbulbs that double as speakers, it was never going to be long until someone came along and decided the humble rug needed a piece of the action…Was it?
That someone has turned out to be Panasonic. Wave goodbye to your boring rug that sits around doing nothing, and say hello to your new multi-tasking floor adornment.
The Surround Sound Rug has four speakers – one on each corner – with a 2.1 speaker set up that sits under your TV. The idea is that your sofa or chair goes in the middle of the rug, and you’ve got yourself an immersive sound system for film viewing and music.
For smaller households with limited space, it’s the perfect solution to free-standing speakers that clutter up the floor, because instead of tripping over it, you’re sitting on it.
No word from Panasonic on availability or pricing yet, but we’re keeping our ears to the ground…
4. Upstairs is too cold, but downstairs is too hot
Even if you’ve already upgraded to a smart thermostat, you might still be a bit miffed that some parts of your house are still always colder than others.
But with tado°’s extended range of smart heating controls, you can now have control over the heating in various zones in your house from an app on your smartphone, saving both energy and money on heating bills.
Separate floors, individual rooms, and even underfloor heating can be controlled independently from other areas of your house via a thermostat in each room.
tado°’s thermostat keeps track of weather reports so it knows when to let the heat of the sun warm your home for free, and it uses your phone’s location as an indicator of when it needs to warm up your home.
An Additional Smart Thermostat can be purchased for £179 from tado.com. The Smart Radiator Valve is still a way off, with release scheduled for late 2016.
5. Your wardrobe doesn’t wash your clothes
Classic problem. You hang up your clothes and they’re still as fusty and stained as ever the next day.
With the recent upgrade on the LG Styler, you can now hang up your clothes and come back in approximately 83 minutes to a fresh set of steam-cleaned garments.
Styler is basically a tall thin cupboard that looks a little like the lovechild of a wardrobe and a fridge. With one touch of a button, hot steam is sprayed onto your clothes to give them a freshening up without any harsh chemicals.
There’s an app called Tag-On which lets you download customised cycles specific to garment type and program the Styler with one touch.
Styler is perfect for dry-clean items that need a little extra care, like woollen jumpers or silk-lined coats. It also has a Pants Press function that irons out wrinkles in your trousers.
No word yet when we’ll be able to get the Styler upgrade.