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Household appliances all have their roles in our homes, but now developers want these appliances to do a lot more and even connect to the Internet.
Samsung is among those pushing the so-called Smart Appliances. Its refrigerators with built-in LCDs help users look up recipes, keep track of when food goes bad and even leave 21st century post-its for family members.
Its new line of washers and dryers can be controlled completely from smart phones.
"It's actually going to be a downloadable app for any smart phone that'll allow you to remotely control your washer and dryer from anywhere inside your home our outside of your home," Amy Schmidt of Samsung Home Appliances said.
Whirlpool is also connecting its appliances to the Internet in order to send users messages about things like service notifications.
"You get an alert, for example, if your kids left the fridge door open or if your washing machine ran out of soap or it'll tell you about energy management tips and features," Warwick Stirling of Whirlpool said.
LG Electronics seems most aggressive in trying to get household appliances to do more via the Internet. For example, a robotic vacuum cleaner not only lets users control it from a mobile device, but also has a built-in camera so that users can keep an eye on a home's cleanliness from anywhere in the world.
"So you look at your phone and see where it's going, what it's looking at and you can control it or let it go. It memorizes your house, where things are," says Justin Joyner of LG Electronics.
Meanwhile, an LG refrigerator chills liquids at a much faster rate, by using a special compartment called a "Blast Chiller" to make a warm can of soda turn ice cold in just five minutes.
"Essentially it's jetting super cold air, flowing it through the entire compartment we call the 'Blast Chiller' and there's also a gentle rocking motion," says Ellis Mass of LG Electronics. "The combination of those two things means your liquid can get really, really cold really fast without forming ice crystals."
One 12-ounce can takes five minutes, and a bottle of wine or two cans take eight minutes.