Home tech to get outing at CES includes phone-controlled oven, smart dishwasher

Infotainment for car users another big draw at Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where tech firms big and small are unveiling new products and concepts

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 January, 2016, 12:39pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 January, 2016, 1:58pm

Can you really walk away from your oven? Whirlpool hopes so with its new smart oven.

With a smartphone, you can start, stop and adjust the temperature from another room. You get alerts when pre-heating or cooking is done so you won’t have to keep checking.

And if you leave home, the app will alert you if the oven is still on — provided you also have a Nest thermostat, which can detect when you’re away.

SEE ALSO: Six consumer tech trends coming in 2016: drones that follow you, robots, virtual reality (again) and self-driving cars

What isn’t immediately known, though, is whether there are any mechanisms to prevent you from accidentally turning the oven on while away.

Manufacturers like Whirlpool are using this week’s Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas, which opens on Wednesday, to showcase the latest technologies in everyday appliances. As these appliances connect to the internet and to each other, people will be able to perform many basic functions from another room with a smartphone.

Whirlpool is also unveiling a dishwasher that can alert you when your dishes are done and estimate how much detergent you have left.

LG is showing a new floor-cleaning robot that will respond to its owner telling it: “You missed a spot.”

The South Korean company’s HOM-BOT Turbo+ makes use of cameras that record where it’s already cleaned. If it didn’t do a good job, augmented reality will come to the rescue. Using any smartphone screen, the owner can point to a still-dusty area and the robot will go there to tidy up. And unlike a human, it probably doesn’t mind being bossed around. Pricing and availability weren’t announced.

Fiat Chrysler is joining the parade of carmakers incorporating Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto into their infotainment services. The company says both smartphone systems will be available on some models worldwide from late 2016. They will be part of the fourth generation of Fiat Chrysler’s Uconnect touch-screen system. Fiat Chrysler says the new Uconnect system will start faster with quicker and more vivid touch screens.

Carmakers have gradually been adding the Apple and Google systems to their infotainment systems, largely because customers want the screens to mimic their familiar smartphones and perform tasks the same way. On Monday, Ford also announced plans to add the systems to its Sync infotainment centres. General Motors is rolling the systems out on selected models, and others are also moving in that direction. At the same time, carmakers are developing their own systems to control car functions.

Among the holdouts: Toyota says it has no plans yet to add Apple’s or Google’s system yet to its Toyota and Lexus infotainment services, though it will link all of its new vehicles to cellular networks, allowing driver and passengers access to selected internet data, but Toyota's “Data Communication Module” won’t be a wireless hotspot just yet.

Meanwhile, Oculus says it will start taking orders for its much-hyped Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset at 11am US Eastern Time (midnight in Hong Kong) on Wednesday. It has not said how much the headset will cost or when it will begin shipping.