From Bathroom to Bedroom, Homes Getting 'Smart'

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LAS VEGAS, Nevada (AFP) - Mobile phones aren't the only things getting smart. Home appliances are too.On display at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) here along with the latest smartphones and touchscreen tablet computers are ovens, dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, refrigerators and other products for the "connected" home.South Korea's LG Electronics is displaying its "Thinq" home appliances which are connected to a home Wi-Fi network and can be controlled by a smartphone or a computer.They include washing machines that can be instructed from the office to run at the most cost-effective times and a camera-equipped robot vacuum cleaner, the Hom-Bot, which can be instructed remotely to clean the floor.The camera embedded in the robot can also be used to keep an eye on the house while the owner is away.Also from LG Electronics are refrigerators with touchscreen LCD displays that let users keep tabs on where items are located in the refrigerator and when they expire.An owner can access the information while shopping via a smartphone and check whether they have enough milk or orange juice, for example.In case of a problem such as a door left open, the LG refrigerator can send an alert to an owner's smartphone or computer.Tom deSalvo, a spokesman for Kenmore, the appliance brand of retail titan Sears, said the company is researching the possibilities of being able to turn an oven or a clothes dryer on or off using a smartphone.Safety questions have not made this a reality yet, he said, but as of next year, the temperature of a Kenmore oven, for example, can be regulated from a distance using a smartphone. …