The Fifties vision of robot butlers and voice-activated everything wasn’t entirely sci-fi nonsense.
Stuff magazine’s Tom Wiggins picks the tech that will turn your home into a gadget heaven.
The Living Room and Kitchen
Private 3D viewing
What do you do when even the biggest TV isn’t big enough? Get a projector. But not just any projector. Immersis is like inverted virtual reality; it turns walls into screens and 3D maps the picture onto them, so you don’t have to sit on the sofa wearing a stupid headset.
Due: December 2015; immersisvr.com
Tired of nobody ever listening to you? Buy a robot to do it; they’re programmed to. Jibo can order takeaways for you, remind you about events in your calendar, take photos, turn your lights on when you get home and even entertain the kids. Just be careful not to make yourself obsolete.
Due: spring 2016; jibo.com
Expensive, but cheaper than a cleaner in the long run, Dyson’s robo-vacuum uses a 360-degree camera to work out where it is in the room and make sure it covers every inch. Leave it to get on with it, or use the app to see how it’s getting on.
Due: autumn 2015; dyson360eye.com
With all the houseplants that’ve died at your hands it’s amazing you’re allowed to own living things any more, but Parrot’s Pot should help save a few lives. It has a 2.2-litre built-in reservoir, and uses sensors to detect when a plant needs its thirst quenched.
Out now; parrot.com/flowerpower
Gone are the days when home brew meant setting up a science experiment in the shed. Picobrew’s Zymatic is loaded with recipes; just pick one and it’ll add the required ingredients automatically. About four hours later it’s ready to start fermenting.
Out now; picobrew.com
Remember your smoke alarm? It’s that thing you wave a tea towel at every time you try to cook steak. Nest’s Protect is cleverer. It speaks, lights your way to the loo at night and pings your phone when it goes off, so you can silence it without having to climb on a chair at 3am.
Out now; nest.com
If you’re more Aaron Ramsey than Gordon Ramsay when it comes to cooking, Meld might be able to help. It attaches to the hob’s temperature knob and a sensor in the pot and tells it when it needs to adjust the heat, depending on what you’ve told the accompanying app you’re attempting to cook. No more burnt water!
Due: autumn 2015; kck.st/1ahKsko
A Teasmaid for the flat white generation, this Wi-Fi-equipped coffee machine comes with an app that lets you start the brew before you’ve even got out of bed. It grinds, too, and you can make everything from one to 12 cups at a time, depending on how much of a kickstart your morning needs.
Due: September 2015; firebox.com
Targeted surround sound
Turtle Beach normally makes gaming headsets, but it’s used that nous to develop HyperSound. This technology means sound can be targeted at very specific points, so you could be sitting on the sofa with the sound of bullets whizzing past your ears, while the person sitting next to you hears nothing. Witchcraft.
Due: 2016 (at the earliest); corp.turtlebeach.com
Still opening your front door with a bit of old metal? How quaint. August’s Smart Lock turns your phone into the key, using Bluetooth to detect when you’re nearby and letting you straight in. You can also give guests temporary access, so you don’t even need to get up to let them in.
Out now; august.com
Auto shopping list
Forgotten to buy toothpaste? Amazon’s Dash buttons are tied to a particular product, so stick a shampoo one to the bathroom wall and when you’re nearly all out, press it and your Amazon account will automatically order some more. You’ll never have to wash your hair with Fairy Liquid again.
In beta; amazon.com/oc/dash-button
Smart way to weigh
As well as telling you you’ve been eating too many late-night pasties, Withings’ Smart Body Analyzer (a posh name for some clever bathroom scales) can calculate your BMI, fat percentage, heart rate and even monitor the air quality in your house. Because... why not?
Out now; withings.com
Stat-compiling mattress cover
You can already get smartphone apps that’ll tell you how well you’ve slept, but Luna’s Mattress Cover can track two people at once and provide two sets of slumber stats, including heart and breathing rates, to its own app. It’ll also learn your bedtime and heat the bed before you get in.
Due: February 2016; lunasleep.com
Windows that harness power
Windows normally only have one job: to let light in. OK, two if you include keeping rain and baddies out, but Ubiquitous Energy has come up with a way of generating solar power from window panes, so your home could power itself just by letting the light in (and keeping baddies out).
Due: TBA; ubiquitous.energy
Your very own terminator
The good thing about having a guard drone instead of a guard dog is that it can’t be distracted by sausages. If you spot a drone snooping on your pad, the Rapere’s Intercept Drone will find the target, fly over it and drop a tangle line into its props, then return to base.
In development; rapere.io
Some phones are already equipped for wireless charging, but it’ll never really take off unless you can just plonk your phone down anywhere to juice it up. Ikea now has a range of furniture with the tech built in, including bedside tables and lamps, which should get old plug-in chargers quivering.
Out now; ikea.com
Ecovacs’ Winbot is essentially a robot vacuum cleaner doing a Spiderman impression. It deploys its sucking skills to traverse windows and glass doors, working out the most efficient route and giving them a good spruce up
as it goes, returning to its starting point when the job’s done.
Due: 2015; ecovacsrobotics.com
Clothes are lazy. They spend most of their time hanging around doing nothing. LG’s Styler is a super-powered wardrobe that uses steam and warm air to give your clothes a refresh, while its Moving Hanger Action jiggles your jackets, jeans and jerkins to discourage dust and creases.
In development; lg.com
It’s not quite the three seashells from Demolition Man, but as sci-fi bathtime gadgets go, washing yourself with sound is up there with the best. McLaren is developing ultrasonic windscreen wipers, and futurologists think the same tech might find its way to your shower.
The electric toothbrush was invented in the Fifties, so isn’t it time it did a bit more? Kolibree’s connects to your phone via Bluetooth and feeds back info on how you’re brushing, so you can see if there are any bits you’re missing. It’s like Opta for your mouth.
Out now; kolibree.com
Phone-activated mood lighting
Clap- or voice-activated lights are an Eighties cliché best left behind. Philips’ Hue bulbs use your phone for control; you can change their colour based on photos in your library, or set them to come on when you’re out and spook any prowling burglars.
Out now; meethue.com