Throughout history, humans have been particularly adept at creating and refining tools to best suit our needs. The tools we need today correspond to life in an increasingly connected culture: We’re embracing smarter and smarter tech to mitigate the inconveniences of daily life. Whether you’re new to automation or already luxuriating in a smart home, here are the gadgets you could stand to add to your space, based on your lifestyle of choice.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, food preparation is the household activity Americans spend the most time on. A lot of moving parts go into crafting meals, even if you’re whipping up something simple. Deciding on a satisfactory meal alone can be a challenge — and then there’s the washing, chopping, cooking (which can involve everything from sauteing to roasting), and the dreaded clean-up.
Make the entire process easier with a KOHLER Sensate Touchless kitchen faucet, which can be activated with touchless interactions, and will soon be released with voice commands using KOHLER Konnect. Users will be able to remotely fill a pot of water for boiling pasta while prepping other ingredients, say — or get a head start on rinsing dirty dishes.
Meanwhile, the cooking itself can be made easier with a Drop Scale. The bluetooth-enabled kitchen scale comes with an app filled with hundreds of interactive recipes, from huevos rancheros to Food52’s vegan chocolate cake. The smart scale guides you through each step of the recipe you choose, telling you when you’ve added enough of each ingredient.
Finally, take all of your recipes up a notch by growing fresh herbs with an Ava Byte smart indoor garden. It’s designed to be both sustainable and easy to use, notifying users when their plants need watering, and allowing them to check on their plants while on vacation. The device can even be used to grow things like mushrooms and berries — helping turn even the blackest of thumbs green.
The reason most people adopt smart home tech isn’t its futuristic cool factor: It’s the functionality and convenience these devices offers to their users. For those in the midst of living their busiest lives, the most game-changing products are the ones that can help them multitask more effectively.
Installing a KOHLER Verdera Voice Lighted Mirror in your bathroom can enhance your morning routine tenfold. The industry-first design is embedded with Amazon Alexa, giving users the ability to do all sorts of things in the bathroom, from seamlessly checking the weather while you’re brushing your teeth or putting on makeup, to calling the office when you’re running behind schedule.
The stress of keeping an eye on your home (or simply receiving packages) while you’re away can be reduced with a SkyBell smart doorbell. Not only does SkyBell’s app allow you to see and speak to your visitors remotely, but it’ll also notify you when someone’s on your doorstep but doesn’t ring the bell. Moreover, the device works with both Amazon Echo and Nest, responding to commands issued to Alexa and changing colors if carbon monoxide is detected inside your home.
Of course, the ultimate godsend for a multitasker is a smart assistant — and Google Home is a strong contender. Following an update in late 2017, the smart speaker can process any two requests at once. You can thus ask it to “dim the lights and play ambient music,” or even issue two completely unrelated commands, like “search for turkey recipes and remind me to call my mom in 30 minutes.”
Beauty has preoccupied human beings since the beginnings of culture; Immanuel Kant famously argued that judgments of taste are both subjective and universal. If design and aesthetics are your thing, invest in gadgets that’ll appeal to multiple senses.
Bang & Olufsen’s BeoLab 90 speakers are both sonically powerful and visually striking, and both the sound and appearance can be customized to your surroundings. The speaker technology was developed to compensate for interference from walls and furniture, and users can adjust the sound dispersion to perfectly deliver to their favorite spot in the room.
Ambiance can be further transformed with Philips Hue, a lighting system that combines energy-efficient LED lights with smart technology. With over 16 million colors of light to choose from (yes, you read that right), users can alter their home’s atmosphere to suit virtually any activity, from simulating sunlight on overcast days, to providing fun, colorful lighting during parties.
In the realm of the bathroom, be sure to consider a KOHLER Real Rain shower panel. Inspired by nature, the panel was designed to emulate summer rainfall, with raindrops that begin to fall slowly and increase in strength and speed. Don’t worry about getting trapped in a downpour, though: The center is designed as a rain-free zone, so users can keep their faces dry and breathing easy, taking in the whole experience.
Technology, and specifically smartphone use, is often decried for causing anxiety and overstimulation. The right products, though, can lead to better sleep, more exercise, and other healthy lifestyle habits.
Anyone interested in health and wellness should have a reliable fitness tracker, like the Fitbit Alta HR. In addition to offering the standard metrics of a fitness tracker, like steps and calories burned, the device also supports Sleep Stages, using heart rate to track what mode of sleep you’re in throughout the night. For both fitness and sleep, the device learns your behavior over time and offers personalized feedback. If you’re craving more smart watch functionality though, consider the Apple Watch Series 3. The watch offers all the hallmarks of a fitness tracker, complemented by cellular connectivity, apps, and other iPhone features. Just remember to limit your notifications to save your wrist from excessive buzzing while you’re downward dogging.
Stress, meanwhile, can be managed more effectively with a Spire Stone, a handy little piece of wearable tech that keeps track of your breath through the expansion and contraction of your torso. Easily clipped onto your waistband, belt, or bra, the device sends notifications to wearers when their breath shortens or tenses, reminding them to breathe deeply and reset.
At the end of the day, wind down from everything in a KOHLER VibrAcoustic hydrotherapy bath. Bathers can put on their favorite playlists with voice commands (or choose from six pre-loaded musical selections), before laying back and relaxing as the all-encompassing sound waves travel through the water around them.
Angela Wang is a Senior Writer for Studio@Gizmodo.