Smart Appliances Help Run the House

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Imagine a fridge that can tell you what's available for dinner – and tell the oven to start preparing itself.

More from the Consumer Electronics Show last week, this time from

Grilled chicken was on the menu. The fridge confirmed that it had all the necessary ingredients inside, then signaled the oven to start warming up. I could have watched TV while it was heating — the oven can flash a message on the screen when it reaches the correct temperature.

Other smart devices can be controlled by smartphone, so you could flip on the AC and get the coffee brewing before you got home. Some of these things are already available; a version of the smart fridge the article mentions runs for $3,500. You can already use WeMo devices to remotely control your electronics.

Cool stuff, but a friend of mine used to talk about this Jetsons-esque stuff 10 years ago and really lessened my enthusiasm for the future. He joked about a scenario where a hacker could take over your home and, while you’re sleeping, make all the lights strobe and every device in the home start beeping like an alarm clock.

Stacy Johnson

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