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Blissful bathrooms: smart showers, magic mirrors and fun loos keep you connected at all times

Technology is making it easier than ever to wirelessly control our homes

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 March, 2017, 9:02am
UPDATED : Monday, 27 March, 2017, 9:02am

Big brother is readying to step into your shower, courtesy of the internet of things.

The bigwigs behind Moen, the American faucet brand, say the digital consumer’s desire to be connected at all times extends into their daily ablutions. And so they brought us the U by Moen, a next-generation, Wi-fi/cloud-based digital shower with mobile connectivity. Now, via the home network, homeowners can enjoy “countless ways to create their ideal showering experience”.

They say that if you crave extra seconds under the covers in the morning, you can start the shower from your bed. It will alert you when it is ready, at the pre-programmed water temperature, after greeting you by name. But if there’s a teenager in the house who lingers too long in the tub, the timer function “will keep them on schedule”.

Andy Conroy, the company’s senior director, wholesale marketing, sees this as the next step in smart home functionality. “Whether it’s connectivity with our heating and cooling, sound or lighting systems, technology is making it easier than ever to wirelessly control [our homes].  At Moen, we thought – why not connected water?” The system debuted at CES 2017 in January along with other bathroom tech that could be viewed as either cool or questionable.

A visit to the loo can be many things – but “fun”? In introducing a new intelligent toilet from the world’s largest plumbing manufacturer, Bill Strang, president of operation and eCommerce at TOTO USA, started by saying the Neorest 750H keeps the bowl fresh and clean, while its technology is extremely efficient and water-saving.

Then, “here’s where it gets really fun,” Strang says. “It’s refreshing because as you sit down for that visit to the bathroom you have the opportunity to rinse off and get fully refreshed.”  

He did go on, but we think you’ve heard enough. Time to see what’s happening through the looking glass.

Failing eyesight does have one advantage as people age: when we look in the mirror.  Not any more, folks.  The HiMirror, unveiled at CES as the world’s first smart beauty mirror, will track your wrinkles for you – even the ones you can’t see. Not only wrinkles, but also fine lines, dark circles and spots. Harrumph. The upside is that it does  recommend customised skincare routines, based on the mirror’s findings. And it has LED make-up lighting to help you camouflage those pesky flaws.

If you’re worried about more than appearance, the “magic mirror” by Haier Group, a Chinese multinational consumer electronics and home appliances company headquartered in Qingdao, might be your piece of bathroom kit. A touchscreen computer in disguise displays weather  outside the room, as well as inside – the air quality, as well as humidity. It will tell you if the bath water temperature is “just right”.  Plus, Zhou Zhaolin, vice-president of the Haier Group, explains: “If I stand in front of it, the camera in the mirror would reveal my health condition, including weight, height and other indices. The magic mirror is connected with the community hospital, which can record my physical changes in a day.”

Another smart mirror, displayed by Griffin Technology, a privately-held US company, is also designed to connect to the company’s upcoming smart home products – such as the connected toaster and coffeemaker – to help start the day organised as you get ready in the morning.

You might never want to leave the bathroom, if you had a Jacuzzi Fusion 7260 in there. From the spa supremo comes an indulgent home whirlpool bath with a menu of hydrotherapy technologies designed to rejuvenate two people at a time. Its customisable comfort options include a neck-massaging waterfall, and the Fuzion can also be upgraded with Jacuzzi’s Chromatherapy or Illumatherapy technologies, adding light and colour to the relaxation routine.