Amazon's Dash wand lets you scan and shop from home, with next-day US delivery

Amazon has unveiled a Wi-Fi wand with a built-in microphone and barcode scanner, and it's called Dash. You can use Dash to populate your AmazonFresh shopping list, then checkout from home, and schedule deliveries. You'll never run out of paper towels again.

Dash, which looks like a Nintendo Wii remote, lets you add items to your shopping list from anywhere in your home. Just press the microphone button to say the name of an item (like "chocolate chip cookies"), and Dash will automatically add it. You can also go around scanning things such as an oatmeal container or bottle of dish soap.

You can keep Dash in your kitchen, or as Amazon suggested, hang it on your refrigerator. Just grab it at anytime to begin restocking household goods. Dash connects to your home's Wi-Fi network and recognises millions of items available on AmazonFresh and Amazon. When you're finished shopping, you can view the list on your desktop or mobile device, then simply checkout, and schedule a delivery.

Most orders will arrive at your doorstep the very next day - as long as you live in Southern California, San Francisco, or Seattle. Those are the only US areas where AmazonFresh is currently available. You must also subscribe to Amazon Prime Fresh, which includes all the benefits of Amazon Prime, and then you'll have access to AmazonFresh groceries, as well as a subset of items from the main Amazon.com storefront.

All that said, Amazon is only allowing invited AmazonFresh customers to sign-up for Dash. There is a sign-up form that you can fill out now, but it does not guarantee that you will be invited to participate. If you are one of the lucky ones chosen, you'll be glad to know that the Dash wand itself is free. AmazonFresh however is $299 a year after the 30-day free trial.