Smarthome is a term that's been kicking around for a while. Although there are plenty of solutions already available to turn your home into a smarter one, it is still a term associated with the future rather than the here and now.
There are smart lighting solutions, smart heating solutions, smart appliances, smart security systems, smart cameras. The list goes on. The problem with all of these systems and solutions however, is that they require several apps and platforms to function, meaning nothing is in one place or within one app.
You turn your lights on with one app, your heating off with another and check on the baby asleep in the bedroom with another. Frankly, it's all a bit of a faff and probably quicker to just get off your bum and do it manually.
Whirlpool Interactive Kitchen of the Future
What Whirlpool has created with its Interactive Kitchen of the Future concept though, is the idea for everything to be integrated, allowing the kitchen to work as both a cooking and informational hub. The concept, which was first revealed at IFA 2015 and has since expanded, presents how the company's smart technology will interact with the world of connected smart devices and the Internet of Things.
An interactive splashback and connected cooktop sit at the centre of the Interactive Kitchen of the Future concept. These two features work together to not only link you to your social networks, favourite websites and recipes, but also offer you meal planning without cookbooks based on what you have in the cupboard, live chats with friends and family and wine recommendations for the meals it plans.
The splashback could display your diary so you know what is happening for the day, as well as pull in the feed from the smart camera in the bedroom so you know when the baby is waking up, let's say. The cooktop detects what has been placed on it and directs the right amount of power to it, whether that be warming a coffee mug, baby bottle, or a saucepan. Sensors will help automatically cook food to perfection.
The concept also features a scanner that will enable you to scan items in your cupboard to find out nutritional information, while the sink washer will automatically detect when items are placed in it, sealing itself off to run a wash cycle when you leave. The idea is that the future kitchen will anticipate your lifestyle and learn your routines, enabling the appliances to adapt to your circumstances and needs.
The Interactive Kitchen of the Future is of course just a concept at the moment but the solutions it offers are very much there already and according to Whirlpool, this kind of future kitchen could be just around the corner.
Whirlpool 6th Sense Live connected appliances
We will be waiting a little longer for the kitchen that predicts what we will want to eat that evening, but Whirlpool has launched a suite of connected appliances, which it claims the Interactive Kitchen of the Future could be a possible evolution of. The 6th Sense Live range features a washing machine, tumble dryer, refrigerator and dishwasher that are all connected via an app. There is also a matching oven but it is currently not connected, although Whirlpool expects to launch a connected suite with an oven by the end of 2017.
The 6th Sense Live range offers various functions through its smartphone or tablet app. The dishwasher can be set to run its cycle when it will cost you the least for example, while the washing machine can be programmed to specifically remove mud and other dirt or stains. Load the wash into the dryer and it will automatically know which cycle to run as the washing machine has communicated to the dryer what clothing it has just washed. As you might expect, the app will also send you an alert to let you know when a wash is complete.
When it comes to the fridge, there is a party mode. Yes, a party mode - no more warm drinks or leaving a bottle of champers in the freezer is what that means. Users input what type of drinks they are putting in the fridge, whether that be a soft drink, beer or wine for example, followed by the type of container they are in. The app will then calculate how long that specific drink needs to be cooled for to be the optimum drinking temperature. A can of coke takes 34 minutes in the Whirlpool 6th Sense Live fridge, while a bottle of beer takes 30 minutes.
There are plenty more features on the 6th Sense Live app for each of the appliances, all of which can be found in the demo mode when downloaded so you can see exactly what the range can do before you consider buying. It's also worth noting the appliances look pretty good too so they are smart in both senses of the word.
Pricing and availability has yet to be detailed for the Whirlpool 6th Sense Live range, and of course, we have no idea if or when the Interactive Kitchen of the Future might appear or indeed how much it will cost when it does. What is very clear though is that while the smarthome may be a little disjointed at the moment, it might not be long before our homes our smarter than us.