Thursday, January 16, 2014

Whirlpool's smart home has an interactive kitchen


Where's the best spot in you home where you can look up recipes, check the weather and keep up with Facebook friends? You might guess the TV or computer. Whirlpool thinks it might be your kitchen counter.

The appliance manufacturer showed off it's idea for an interactive cooktop at International CES in a display it called the "kitchen of 2020." The centerpiece is the Whirlpool Interactive Cooktop that integrates an induction cooking surface with digital displays of text and images from the Internet.

The company also showed it's designs for connected appliances. What's the advantage of having an appliance connected to the Internet? Typical smart appliances save energy and money by automatically washing dishes or drying clothes at times when electric rates are cheapest. They can do that trick if they are connected to a smart electric meter.

Most homes, however, don't have smart meters and utilities have been slow to build the so-called smart grid. Whirlpool's technology gets around that problem by using its Wi-Fi connection to check a database of energy prices, then adjust its run times accordingly.

The 2020 kitchen also included a refrigerator with built-in speakers that could stream music from any Bluetooth device. Who knew a refrigerator door could make a great bass?


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Follow me on Twitter @ricmanning and read my technology columns at My Well Being.


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