CES 2011: LG Smart Appliances

If you thought all that Jetsons-like smart-home stuff was still a ways off into the future, LG is in Las Vegas to tell you to think again. “This isn’t a gradual evolution – LG THINQ Technology essentially transforms how consumers take care of their home, and makes it easier and smarter than ever before,” said Young-ha Lee, president and CEO of LG Electronics Home Appliance Company.

LG said it is pulling together its full range of LG THINQ smart-home tools at the Consumer Electronics Show. There’s Smart Diagnosis; Smart Access; Food Management (oddly, not named “Smart”); and Smart Adapt, all revolving around the company’s Smart Grid.

Smart home, LG

image via LG

As LG explained it, using “recommended time,” the Smart Grid will tell your washing machine to kick into action at the nearest, most cost-effective time. Set on “Lowest Rate,” it’ll find the time when electricity rates are at their lowest. And if you happen to need to do your washing at a peak time, the washing machine will let you know the most energy-efficient cycle. Smart Grid also offers ways to understand and minimize oven and refrigerator power use, LG said.

But what about minimizing the accumulation of old, moldy stuff in that smart refrigerator – or buying stuff you already have because you forgot you had it? LG said there’s hope there, with its Food Management technology: “By dragging and dropping food icons on the refrigerator’s LCD display or by using the voice recognition function, users can easily identify what is in the refrigerator, as well as where certain items are located and when they expire. This information is also accessible via smartphones or tablet PCs, allowing consumers to reference this while grocery shopping.”

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Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

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