Over the past couple of years, the Internet of Things has helped to transform homes into a series of connected devices we can run from our phones—or even voice commands. Almost everything has been given a “smart” upgrade, including thermostats, locks, lights, alarms, and more. But technology is offering home improvements in other ways as well, including innovative new designs and devices that make your living space better than ever.
Samsung: A Font-Inspired TV
In order to create a TV that would better complement the aesthetics of a buyer’s home, Samsung enlisted the help of the award-winning Paris-based design duo Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec. The result is the Samsung Serif TV ($1,500), which gets its name from its Times New Roman letter I-shaped profile. The unique shape also provides a sturdy base and shelf at the top that allows the TV to be placed pretty much anywhere, so it can artfully blend into any room.
Molekule: Eliminating Indoor Air Pollutants
According to the EPA, indoor air is 5x more polluted than outdoor air—and we spend 90% of our time indoors. Molekule ($499 in the spring of 2017) is a new kind of air purifier designed to eliminate all kinds of pollutants, which ultimately helps to reduce the symptoms of asthma and allergy sufferers. But instead of just capturing harmful pollutants, Molekule uses Photo Electrochemical Oxidation (PECO), in which a nanoparticle-coated filter is activated by light and breaks down pollutants (including viruses) to their most basic molecular components—making them safe to breathe.
Ori: Origami Furniture
Ori, a new company that emerged from MIT Media Lab and designer Yves Béhar, hopes to revolutionize urban living. The company, which derives its name from “origami,” creates units that, through robotic technology, can transform a living room into a comfortable bedroom, office, or even a walk-in closet—all with the touch of a button. Users can control the units from an on-device console or via an app—allowing them to change the layout before they even get home. Developers will start to incorporate the systems, which are designed for micro apartments with less than 300 square feet, in Boston, Washington D.C., and Seattle this summer.
June: Cook Smarter
June ($1,495) is an intelligent oven that is expected to ship around holiday time and promises more precision and less cooking time. What makes June unique is an in-ceiling camera that identifies the food and then recommends a cooking program. The oven will also constantly monitor the food’s weight and temperature to ensure perfect results. June will only be able to recognize about 15 commonly cooked foods at ship time, but the company plans to send out updates to expand the oven’s recognition capabilities.
SYNEK: Intelligent Wine Dispenser
Somm by SYNEK ($299 in January 2017) learns each person’s individual palate and then delivers the wine you are most likely to enjoy. You start by answering a 10-question survey and Somm will recommend an assortment of wines. The company then ships the wine to your door for free in a special container called a Sylo, which the Somm will recognize and then adjust its temperature and aeration settings to fit that wine. As users rate which wines they like, including specific flavors, the Somm will be able to better recommend new wines for that user.