By Heesun Wee, CNBC.com
Digital advances are emerging as one of the hottest trends in the home appliance space. Think refrigerators that track your food inventory and expiration dates; washers and dryers you control remotely with a smartphone; robotic vacuum cleaners. "2012 is becoming the year, when connected appliances become more mass marketable and more mainstream," says Shawn DuBravac, chief economist and director of research for the Consumer Electronics Association, which produces the annual show.
The evolution of these new appliances can be traced to the explosion of mobile devices. Another factor is cloud computing, which allows your many devices to easily communicate and sync with one another. Tech savvy consumers want their traditional white-box appliances do the same. In addition to smart technology, more consumers demand energy-efficient appliances. In fact, with higher utility bills and gasoline prices, consumers are more concerned about saving energy and money than saving water and using less plastic, according to a recent study by the Consumer Electronics Association.
The upshot is some of the most sophisticated appliances - some with four-figure prices to match. DuBravac says the market for connected appliances is just beginning. Looking ahead, he imagines a futuristic home, where your digital body scale and refrigerator sync to offer healthy meal ideas and recipes; maybe even a polite, audio reminder to stay away from the ice cream. "Consumers are just now being presented with the opportunity of accessing a host of different information from different devices," DuBravac says.
So click ahead to view some of the coolest smart-tech appliances. But alas, the items won't prepare dinner or take out the garbage. They're not that smart.
See the full slideshow: 10 Smart Digital Appliances You Wish You Owned
Roomba 780 Vacuum Cleaning Robot Roomba 780 Vacuum Cleaning Robot (iRobot)
Digital Smarts: Admit it. You've probably considered buying one of these chordless devices, if only to confuse your pet. The robot automatically adjusts to different surfaces including hardwood, tile and linoleum. The vacuum robot's head was designed with pet owners in mind and picks up pet hair, as well as dirt, dust and allergens.
Of course, a key part of the allure is the robot's ability to roam your home, including those hard to reach places. Roomba also returns to its "home base" to recharge between cleanings.
Smart Washer and Dryer Smart Washer and Dryer (Samsung)
Price: $3,398 for both
Digital Smarts: Samsung's WF457 Wi-Fi-enabled washer and dryer perform a multitude of tasks - short of placing, removing and folding your clothes. The front-loading washer features a 4.5-cubic-foot capacity, one of the largest in the industry. The machine comes with a smart-phone application so you can monitor cycles remotely and receive alerts if there are problems. The washer's advanced rinsing systems means a cycle that's up to 25 percent shorter compared to conventional washers. The washer and dryer will be available beginning in May.
Undercounter Wine Storage Unit Undercounter Wine Storage Unit (Miele) Price: $2,945
Digital Smarts: This under-the-counter unit has lots of bells and whistles, designed to control the temperature, humidity and light exposure that could affect your precious bottles. The tinted, tempered glass door includes a UV filter. The LED lighting system doesn't affect the interior temperature. There are two separate cooling zones, so you can store white and red wines and champagne simultaneously. Fresh air is distributed throughout the wine unit. An alarm sounds if there's a power failure, rise in temperature or if the door is left ajar.
Wi-Fi Body Scale Wi-Fi Body Scale (Withings)
Digital Smarts: This is one fancy, WiFi-enabled scale. Every time you step onto the scale, it automatically measures your weight, lean-and-fat mass and body mass index. You can access this data through a web browser or your smartphone and track your progress over time. The scale's dashboard lets you manage up to eight users.
Futura Dishwasher (Miele)
Digital Smarts: This dishwasher includes an "AutoSensor" that determines the amount of water and detergent needed, based on the number of dishes in the machine. Its "RemoteVision" technology system alerts Miele if there's a malfunction through a wireless Internet connection. Additional features include LED lighting, 10 wash cycles and less noise when in operation.
See the slideshow: 10 Smart Digital Appliances You Wish You Owned
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By Heesun Wee, CNBC.com