Web-connected washing machines: An idea that's not all wet?

LG Electronics said today it is launching a series of home appliances with Internet connectivity. Yes, now you can connect your refrigerator, washing machine, oven and other appliances to the Internet.

This idea of adding connectivity to devices which haven’t traditionally been hooked up to computer networks has been around for a while: Small-appliance maker Sunbeam talked long ago about connecting blenders and the like to the Internet, but everybody mocked the idea. Now, however, technology has caught up and the notion has gained currency under the “Internet of things” moniker.

LG, a Korean conglomerate with a large market presence in cell phones, consumer electronics and appliances, made the announcement at the opening press conference for Press Day at the Consumer Electronics Show, the big tech conference in Las Vegas.

Now LG says the time has come, given the ubiquity of Internet access within the home via wireless technologies and more thoughtful design. LG is launching a series of ThinQ-branded home appliances, including smart refrigerators, dishwashers, laundry machines, and ovens.

The oven can download optimal cooking instructions for cooking turkey on Thanksgiving Day. It will also let you know that your roast is about done and you better get in the kitchen. The laundry machine will let you know if something is wrong with its operation, and it can download new wash cycles to deal with specific laundry stains. A smart dishwasher can detect what kind of wash cycle it should do to get lipstick off wine glasses.

The refrigerator, which has quiet operation, sits on the smart grid. That means it knows how much energy it is using. You can adjust its temperature on your way home from the store. It could also send a text message saying some of your food is about to go bad or that you need to go to the store to replace items that are just about gone.

Some of this sounds too good to be true. But it certainly seems like the sci-fi era of the Jetsons has arrived. I suppose if our TVs can become connected to the Internet, why not our refrigerators, washing machines, and dishwashers?

blog comments powered by Disqus