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Cutting-Edge "Smart" Appliances for the Home

LAS VEGAS - At the massive Consumer Electronics Show, you can get a glimpse at what manufacturers hope is the future, and one expert says the future is now, as far as "smart" products for the home are concerned.

More than 120,000 people came to Sin City for the show, with more than 20,000 products on display.

New tablet computers, 3-D TVs, video games and more are creating buzz - as are "smart" home appliances, contributor Kara Tsuboui reported on "The Early Show on Saturday Morning."

Complete Coverage: CES 2011

CNET's Scott Ard remarked to Tsuboui that, "For about 20 years, they've been promising us this smart home … and it's here now."

Designed to make your life easier, the ovens, washers, dryers and fridges are built to try to save you energy and time.

LG says one of its refrigerators, for instance, alerts you when your food has spoiled.

Your home can be in your pocket, Tsuboui observes -- lock your doors, adjust your heater and turn on your lights, all with the tap of a finger.

"Home automation allows you to manage your devices from anywhere in the world," says Hassane Bouhia, a Verizon product manager.

But could a smart home make us lazy?

"Sure," Ard responded to Tsuboui. "That's what technology should do, right? That should free us up for other things."

Tsuboui also showcased some other "smart" products for the home:

The following descriptions were prepared, at least in part, with information from and assertions made by the manufacturers or retailers

iRobot Scooba 230
$299.99, Available in sSpring
The world's most compact floor washing robot, the iRobot Scooba 230 scrubs your tile, linoleum and sealed hardwood floors. At 6.5 inches in diameter and 3.5 inches tall, the robot easily cleans in tight spaces, including under and around cabinets and furniture and around the toilet.
• iRobot Scooba 230 is easy to use: just hit the Clean
button and the robot does the dirty work!
• iRobot Scooba 230 is specifically designed for
tighter and hard-to-reach areas.
• Intelligently navigates the room using iAdapt
Responsive Cleaning Technology, a suite of software
and sensors that respond to your home environment
and ensure a thorough clean.

ThinkEco Modlet
$50, Available in spring
The Modlet eliminates wasteful energy use by automatically turning off power to your appliances when they are not needed, so you can effortlessly save on your electricity bill. Simply plug the Modlet into an existing electric outlet and plug your appliances into it. Then use your web browser to wirelessly monitor and manage your power consumption. The Modlet can save you 10% off your electricity bill, with minimal effort. The actual amount depends on 1) the types of appliances you have, and 2) how much the modlets are used, so we've seen plenty of people who have been able to save more. The price for a starter kit, which includes one modlet and a USB is expected to be $50. Each additional modlet will be $44.95.

$120, Available in spring
"WOWee" is a portable speaker system. It's a subwoffer that uses common surfaces as an amp. It's the size of an iphone, and to your music player via bluetooth. WOWee turns everyday home tables and surfaces into stereo system.

ION Health USB Insta-Scan Thermometer
$69.99, Available in April
ION, a leader in consumer technologies, announces a collection of four new health products: USB Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor, USB Insta-Scan Thermometer, USB Body Mass Scale and USB Pedometer. Simply point and press the button for instant temperature readings using USB Insta-Scan Thermometer. This easy-to-use thermometer features non-contact measurement technology that allows quick, accurate temperature reading from a forehead or temple. A simple, digital display and nightlight provide straightforward results and the ability to use the thermometer in the dark without disrupting the patient's sleep. USB Insta-Scan Thermometer is the only computer-based, contactless thermometer system with professional grade accuracy. Capture and store results on the thermometer itself, then connect the unit to a computer to quickly upload and monitor the results.