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New gadgets take smart homes to the next level

By: Amy Dobson The Washington Post
March 17, 2018 Updated: March 17, 2018 at 4:15 am
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The Alexa-enabled Verdera mirror plays music and podcasts. (MUST CREDIT: Kohler)

If you've ever wanted to experience zero gravity but can't afford a trip to the moon, a new bathtub gives the feeling of weightlessness by mimicking the natural position of astronauts when they float in low-gravity conditions.

If weightlessness isn't for you, plenty of other smart-home gadgets can bring your living spaces to the cutting edge of design.

Many new products no longer restrict smart-home technology to performing one task.

A door alert system not only provides LED nightlights, but also extends the range of your home's WiFi. A voice-activated smart mirror can change the lighting to pre-set options, tell you today's weather and traffic, and play music from your favorite online stations.

"We know from our market research you don't have enough counter space today (and) you don't have enough outlets today," said Jesse Lemel, senior product manager at Kohler.

"Do you really want to take up that countertop space and that outlet so you can add this feature? Or would you rather seamlessly integrate it?"

Here are some new home devices introduced at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas:

Home security

- ADT Security Services introduced its Video Doorbell that will integrate with other home security products under the ADT Pulse brand.

Locking or unlocking doors and activating the whole-house alarm system can be controlled via the mobile app.

- A new conversion kit from Kwikset lets you turn traditional door locks into smart locks you can control from any internet-connected device.

The Z-Wave technology is compatible with several major lock brands, not just Kwikset, and allows users to monitor which doors are locked and provide remote entry to their home for visitors.

- Ring, the home security company once known only for its video doorbells, has unveiled a full suite of monitoring devices that integrate with its new app.

- Beam, by Zmodo, sends alerts to a mobile device when doors are open (including interior doors), extends a home's Wi-Fi range and provides LED night lighting in three color options.

HVAC

Carrier introduced a ductless air conditioner with the highest efficiency rating on the market. The 9,000 BTUh single-zone air conditioner also can provide heat during winter and manage humidity levels using an integrated humidity sensor.

t comes with a connected WiFi feature so users can control the device via the mobile app and a motion detector to reduce energy use when no one is in the room.

Smart mirror

Verdera, the Alexa-enabled smart mirror by Kohler, can adjust to pre-set lighting customizations, play music and podcasts from sites such as Pandora and Spotify, and provide a motion-activated night light.

Verdera was named a CES Innovation Awards honoree at this year's conference.

Plumbing

Part of the Neorest collection by luxury plumbing company Toto includes a bathtub that lets users mimic the natural position of astronauts. Referred to as Zero Dimension technology, the Flotation Tub adds gentle water jets so you can achieve a feeling of weightlessness while here on Earth.

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