At last week’s CES, the technology industry’s annual megashow, several companies showed off a range of products that could pave the way for new finishes and looks for homes. Here are a few ways tech could influence home design in the future, based on CES 2022 debuts.
1. Multicolor appliances. Forget stainless steel: Appliance manufacturers showed off more colorful finishes as well as options that enable consumers to pick their own color. Interiors are being infused with more personality, which extends to appliances, too.
At CES 2022, Samsung Electronics debuted its latest Bespoke refrigerator lineup—including its first with French doors, in a three- or four-door setup—that comes in 12 colors and either a glass or steel finish. Among the color choices are gray, pink, charcoal, blue, orange, yellow, matte black, and emerald green.
“We believe that consumers should have the freedom to customize their entire home to match their lifestyle needs,” says Kanghyup Lee, executive vice president at Samsung Electronics. “The expansion of the Bespoke lineup empowers customers to create living spaces that truly reflect their tastes and aesthetics.”
Also, Samsung showed off colorful options for its Bespoke Jet, a lightweight vacuum cleaner. The vacuum comes in colors like midnight blue, misty white, and woody green so it can blend in with a room’s decor and be stored out in the open.
LG also highlighted more colorful electronics, displaying a high-tech French-Door Object Collection that has replaceable door panels in various finishes and colors.
2. Mirrors that talk. Where is that voice coming from?! Mirrors were talking at CES 2022.
The Sound Mirror, created by Icon.ai, may look like any other mirror, but its built-in Alexa smart speaker enables it to stream music and connect to other smart-home gadgets.
This CES 2022 Innovation Award honoree is a hands-free, voice-activated acoustic mirror. The Sound Mirror features a speaker built into its display, and can be hung in the bathroom, living room, or anywhere else inside a home.
3. Calming tech displays. Natural wood elements are increasingly part of modern home design, and at CES 2022, some companies added technology to these home accents. Mui Lab Inc. showed off a wood panel that also serves as a “calming” smart display for your Alexa devices. The mui Board, which is built on the mui Platform—a CES 2022 Innovation Award honoree in the smart-home category—offers a control hub interface that appears only when called upon. Speak to Alexa to set timers, reminders, ask about the weather, or get notifications, and the slim wood panel will provide a visual display of the information. The company says its discreet accent helps filter out the “noise” of tech overload through a minimalist display.
“We see ambient intelligence as the future—technology that is there when you need it and fades into the background when you don’t,” adds Liz Myers, head of Alexa Startups.
4. Don’t touch that. More home items are going touchless, such as faucets and doors. The pandemic has inspired hands-free tech in residential and commercial design. Moen and Kohler, for example, showed off faucets that can be controlled with a simple wave of a hand.
A new line of faucets from Moen has even ditched the handles altogether for a more simplistic design that is completely hands-free. Moen’s MotionSense Wave technology enables you to completely operate a faucet by a wave of the hand. Gesture to the right or left to control the water temperature. An app can be used to set preferred gesture preferences for controlling the faucet. Also, it can be connected to an Alexa- or Google-enabled smart speaker to set a specific temperature or measurements, such as presets to fill a coffee maker or dog bowl.
5. Lighting with extras built in. String lights have become a popular way to illuminate outdoor spaces with some added ambience. But how about lights that also can fend off bugs? Tiki Brand BiteFighter—a CES 2022 Innovation Award honoree—debuted LED string lights that combine mosquito repellency with 2200K LED lighting.
Smart-bulb manufacturer Sengled also released outdoor string lights with some built-in extras. Its WiFi Outdoor String Lights feature 48 or 96 feet of colored lightbulbs that can brighten the patio or other outdoor space and can sync to music via built-in microphones.
Smart-bulb manufacturers also displayed bulbs that include video monitors or wireless speakers, and some with features that could help homeowners age in place longer. Another CES 2022 Innovation Award honoree, Sengled’s Smart Health Monitoring bulb can analyze your sleep through your heart rate, body temperature, and other vital signs, and detect whether someone has fallen. It also responds to Alexa and Google smart speakers and Apple’s HomeKit commands.
6. Immersive displays. Don’t hang your art—project it. Samsung showed off The Freestyle, a portable projector that offers dual purposes around the home that can use any flat surface as a screen. Weighing less than two pounds, the device can project images in high definition for up to 100 inches. Use it to project artwork or even a fake window in darkly lit places for added ambience, or enjoy a cinema-like experience anywhere inside your home or even outside. It can project onto tables, floors, walls, or ceilings. No separate screen is required. The device automatically adjusts to any surface at any angle for clear images. The Freestyle also acts as a smart speaker and can be controlled via voice commands, features 360-degree sound, and provides mood lighting.
The Sengled Wi-Fi Video Sync TV Light Strip can bring an immersive TV watching experience to a home theater. This smart LED light strip uses an external camera to sync the visuals on your TV to an adhesive, wall-facing light strip. It essentially offers a light show in your home that extends the colors from your TV screen into your entire room. At $119, it can fit TV screen sizes between 45 and 75 inches.
7. Ceiling-mounted kitchen faucet. Kohler’s Purist Suspend is adding some drama to the kitchen faucet. The faucet is mounted to the ceiling, leaving countertops clear, and includes a remote puck attachment at the ceiling that also helps to set different temperatures and water flow rates. It offers a fully adjustable hose with 180-degree rotation.