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WATCH: Next level gadgets for smart homes

Independent Online (IOL) logo Independent Online (IOL) 2018-01-31 Amy Dobson

Washington - If you have ever wanted to experience zero gravity but can't afford a trip to the moon, the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas may have a solution. 

A new bathtub gives the feeling of weightlessness while users bathe by mimicking the natural position of astronauts when they float in low-gravity conditions.

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

Many of this year's products demonstrate that smart-home technology is no longer restricted to performing one isolated task.

There's a door alert system that 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 favourite Internet stations.

Jesse Lemel, a senior product manager at Kohler, explained why manufacturers are designing products that fulfil more than one function.

"We know from our market research you don't have enough counter space today [and] you don't have enough outlets today," Lemel said. 

"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?"

Fully integrated home security systems are another prominent trend in the smart-home space, with one brand incorporating security features even though it isn't traditionally considered a home security company.

Here are some of the new home devices introduced at the CES:

Home Security

ADT Security Services introduced its Video Doorbell that will integrate with the rest of the 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 close up of a phone © Provided by African Technology and Media Holdings (Pty) Ltd

The ADT Video Doorbell can be controlled by an app.Picture: ADT


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

a close up of a fan © Provided by African Technology and Media Holdings (Pty) Ltd

The Carrier system comes with a connected WiFi feature. Picture: Carrier

Smart mirror

Verdera, the Alexa-enabled smart mirror by Kohler can adjust to pre-set lighting, play music and podcasts from sites, and provide a motion-activated night light. Verdera was named a CES Innovation Awards honouree at this year's conference. 

a kitchen with a sink and a window: The Alexa-enabled Verdera mirror plays music and podcasts. Picture: Kohler © Provided by Independent Media The Alexa-enabled Verdera mirror plays music and podcasts. Picture: Kohler

The Alexa-enabled Verdera mirror plays music and podcasts.Picture: Kohler


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.

a close up of a white wall © Provided by African Technology and Media Holdings (Pty) Ltd

The Toto bathtub's zero dimension technology will make you feel as if you're weightless. Picture: Toto


Another honoree of this year's CES Innovation Awards is the Over-the-Range Microwave. Home cooks can send cooking instructions (for frozen food) to their microwaves via a mobile device, including multi-step directions if the recipe requires a change in temperature or settings partway through cooking.

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