Smart Home, Happy Family

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Posted by Joe Butler on Dec. 9, 2018, midnight

Unless a loved one has specifically requested something, conventional thinking says to refrain from giving the gift of appliances during the holidays.

While some might appreciate the gesture with plans to put the device to good use, others might interpret the message as “Now you can more time in the cleaning or cooking things for me!”

But today, even the most mundane household appliances are cool, tech-forward gadgets that may get you excited about chores … or at least help you do them!

Take a peek at some of the coolest home tech out there that can be great to give or receive this season.

Roomba on carpet

Smart vacuum
 While self-driven cars are still in the works, science has already given us self-driven vacuum cleaners. There are now at least four major brands that offer automatic vacuums that can either follow a pre-assigned route through your home or simply wander around and suck up any dirt or messes they encounter. Some styles are designed for specific needs, such as pet hair or for hardwood floors instead of carpet. iRobot’s Roomba is still considered the standard, with the 980 and 690 especially recommended, but Electrolux’s Pure and Neato Robotics Botvac are also popular.

Smart bulbs

Even the most unique and elaborate lamps and light schemes are pretty basic when it comes to color: bright white, soft white and intensity are the limit to your options. If you want certain decorative colors, like blue lights for your child’s aquatic themed playroom, you’ll spend time and money changing out lights.  But with Wi-Fi enabled LED Mini Color Smart Bulb by LIFX, you can change the color anytime with your smart phone or home voice assistants, like Alexa. The bulbs fit most lamps and fixtures, so you don’t need to buy special lamps either.  You’ll find yourself changing your light’s colors and ambiance as often as you change your mind and mood.

Smart shade

You can program your voice assistant to control a variety of tasks in the house. Why not let it open the curtains too? Available in Honeycomb or Roller styles with varying light-filters in over 150 fabrics, custom made to suit your style, Lutron Serena Shades can be opened and closed remotely. It’s perfect if you’re trying to maintain house temperature, or if you just can’t pull yourself out of bed before throwing the shades wide to let the sun in. Remote controlled shades are useful for those who may experience difficulty opening or closing shades.

Smart pet sitter

Our dogs hate being separated from us when we go to work. But it’s hard on us too, and more than one pup owner has wondered what they’re up to out of our sight or have even left an answering machine message so they can hear our voices. If you miss your pets as much they miss you, Furbo Dog Camera lets you see, talk to and even feed your furry friends no matter where you are. Sound-activated sensors let you know if your dog is barking.  It snaps photos of your dog and automatically uploads them to your phone and lets you speak to him or her. It’s also tied into a treat dispenser that you can activate remotely when you know he’s being a good, good boy. Which is all the time.