5 Gadgets to Make Your Home a 'Smarter' Place
We might not quite be in the age of The Jetsons yet, but there are quite a few gadgets on the market than can make you feel a little more like you're living in the future.
More than something to just keep you connected the web, your wireless network can now be used to keep you connected to your home or home office while you're out on town, ensuring that your home stays safe and even making sure you have what you need to make breakfast in the morning.
Here are five of our favorite gadgets in the growing connected-home market that would even give the Jetsons' robot assistant Rosie a run for her money:
Lockitron is a Wi-Fi-connected door lock that allows you to lock and unlock your door using your smartphone. The $179 lock is simple to install and works with any smartphone -- as well as older phones via SMS message -- to lock and unlock your door on command.
As an admin, you can grant access to whomever you want, for any time period you want. So, you can give your neighbor a virtual key to go let your dog out when a meeting runs late, or pass out virtual keys to your whole family while they're visiting. An online log lets you see when your door is locked and unlocked and by whom.
2. Dropcam Pro
This nifty gadget is a $199 Wi-Fi-connected camera that can be used as everything from a baby monitor to a home surveillance system. With Dropcam Pro, you can tune in to a live feed from the camera from your smartphone or computer no matter where you are in the world, and a built-in speaker and microphone allow you to communicate through the camera. Push-notifications alert you when there's movement in the camera's view -- for instance, your front door opening -- and an optional subscription service records and stores the video feed from your camera in the cloud.
Since video is stored off-site in the cloud, you'll be able to access it even if your camera is stolen in a burglary, a feature that has already help nap a few criminals.
3. Belkin WeMo Switch
Belkin's $49.99 WeMo switch turns any outlet in your home into a "smart" outlet. The device plugs into your standard electrical outlet, allowing you to control it from anywhere on the planet through Belkin's free WeMo app. You can use the app to turn on a light when you're not at home, or even just turn on a fan that's located across the room. Outlets can also be programmed to turn on and off at any time you specify.
4. Koubachi Wi-Fi Plant Sensor
Koubachi's Wi-Fi plant sensor gives anyone a green thumb. The sensor comes in both indoor and outdoor varieties and measures soil moisture, temperature and light intensity for your plants. The sensor alerts you if your plant needs some extra water or fertilizer, or would benefit from being relocated to a sunnier spot.
Koubachi's indoor sensor is priced at $99, and its outdoor model costs $129.
5. Egg Minder
This is a connected-home gadget for your refrigerator. The $69.99 Egg Minder smart egg tray keeps track of the number of eggs you have in your fridge and sends you push notifications when you're running low.
More than just for keeping track of how many eggs you have, the tray can also let you know which of the eggs in your tray is the oldest and notify you when it thinks one of them is going bad.