Can you imagine receiving an alert on your home PC, cell phone, or TV that your clothes are done washing and it's time to put them in the dryer? This is no longer science fiction folks, as you can see in this news story: "We interrupt this program to bring you warm socks."
It looks like Whirlpool is partnering with Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Procter & Gamble, Panasonic, and Cingular Wireless in a pilot project, called "Laundry Time." During this project, three families in the metro Atlanta area will be able to "extend a drying cycle and perform other laundry tasks" at "the press of a button on a cell phone."
According to the article, "As consumers look to save time, boost efficiency, and make their homes more livable, 'smart home' technology is gaining acceptance as manufacturers bring networking abilities to more devices."
My first thought about this pilot project and the technology behind it was "HOW COOL!" However, my second thought wasn't so great... "Exactly how lazy are we going to become once our household appliances are operated without us even having to get off the couch?" Maybe someone should create a treadmill device or stationary bicycle that's connected to our washers, dryers, and other household appliances. For example, in order to dry your clothes for approximately 15 minutes, you have to exert so much energy, get your heart rate up to a certain level, or burn a specific number of calories. Now that's a SMART home!
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Sonja Thompson started at TechRepublic in October 1999. She is a former Senior Editor at TechRepublic.