The annual Builders Show (IBS 2017) featured just a handful of traditional home-automation technologies – about a dozen of them in CEDIA’s Smart Home Pavilion, and another dozen scattered throughout the sprawling show.
But coming off of CES 2017, the usual smart-home stuff wasn’t terribly interesting to wily home-tech veterans. So here are some particularly interesting technologies we saw at IBS that we probably won’t find at the consumer technology shows.
Laundry Jet | Vacuum Chute
Laundry Jet made its official debut at IBS 2017, with a whole-house vacuum chute for dirty laundry – just like the old vacuum tubes at the drive-through bank teller.
Pop the dirty clothes into the inlet, and the system sucks them up, depositing them in the laundry room. There are all sorts of safety provisions built in, and the system looks for large surface areas, so dense objects like remote controls and leftover lasagna won’t go through.
The tubes are six inches wide, so you’ll either need to run them through closets or plan for them before you build. Alternatively, run the laundry through clear pipes alongside exposed HVAC ducts in hipster lofts.
The system costs about $4,000 for a two-port system, which can handle about 5,000 square feet.
No, the system is not two-way, but it would be nice to pair it with the Foldimate auto-folding system.
Magvent | Magnetic Dryer Vent
Magvent’s magnetic-venting system is an awesome low-tech solution for a stupid problem – long vents behind the clothes dryer.
Typically, those darn venting tubes must be long enough to allow rear access, meaning all that excess flexi-tube gets crunched behind the dryer when it gets shoved back into place.
Magvent’s product comprises two strong magnets – one affixed to the vent outlet in the wall, the other to the tubing itself. When you move the dryer close to the wall, the two magnets find each other and form a tight seal. Pull out the machine and the two pieces separate.
Goodbye long, crunched-up laundry vents.
Legrand | Adorne Under-Cabinet Lighting System
This under-cabinet strip from Legrand isn’t terribly new, but it’s the first time I’ve seen it in action. It’s a modular electrical-track system that starts with a Control Box that powers an entire strip. The box itself can be outfitted with a switch – just a dumb light switch or an Adorne Wi-Fi version – and then modular tracks are snapped together to extend the strip.
The tracks include slots for outlets – power, USB or otherwise – that snap into place, and can be removed with a special tool, as the video shows.
LuDela | IoT Candles
An IoT candle seems destined for the IoT bin, but this product from LuDela is actually pretty cool, rather, warm.
For romantics who enjoy basking in the glow of natural embers, these auto-starting candles – with real wicks and real wax – could be time savers. They can also save money in the end by automatically extinguishing themselves after a certain amount of time.
But even those who never saw a purpose in candles might enjoy falling asleep to the warm glow or waking up to a gentle scent.
The company says it addresses safety issues by prohibiting (or extinguishing) a flame if the candle is tilted or if objects are detected in the “burn zone.”
The candle fixtures are expensive — $149 to $199 each – but refills run just $8 for a 30-hour cartridge.
Here’s what the company has to say about the “technology”:
Our patent pending Wi-Fire Smart Module communicates via Bluetooth to our free app. The app has numerous features allowing you to ignite and extinguish our proprietary, specially formulated 100% natural wax cartridge with natural, lead-free wicks. There is no dangerous, flammable gas either—it’s just a real candle!
I’m kind of warming up to the idea.