By Robert Gryczke
A bath in an effect colour is in itself an eye-catcher. Combined with Smart Home technology, the bath water has the perfect temperature at the touch of a button, and there are also a couple of other surprises for you. The bathroom becomes an intelligent feel-good oasis.
Movement sensors: get going, water – but not too much
All right, that might sound a little gimmicky now, but it’s long been well-known in catering that if there’s no contact, there are no bugs! Which is why washbasins in professional kitchens are often operated by a foot switch or movement sensor. And if it’s good enough for the professionals, it can’t be bad for private users.
In washbasins, these fittings work by an infrared sensor. The sensor knows when your hands are under the tap, and automatically starts the water flowing. The chosen temperature is set in advantage, and the running cycle usually is as well.
Which puts an end to germ-ridden taps. And pre-set intervals have a positive effect on water usage behaviour. Gone are the days when the water kept on running while you dashed off to answer the door or phone. No hands under the tap – no water out of the tap.
There are numerous providers on the market, with prices ranging from low to very high. Manufacturers such as Grohe, Dornbracht and the rest offer extremely sophisticated technology in this field. The brands are notable for durability, self-cleaning system, scald protections and many more features. Some manufacturers also offer modules that use the kinetic energy of the flowing water, convert it into electricity and store it for later use. This makes the smart washbasin energy self-sufficient. And there’s no need to worry about suddenly losing electricity for the movement sensor – just as you’ve lathered up your hands.
Smart shower: Showering 2.0 thanks to warm-up and entertainment
There are worlds between what we expect of a shower and what today’s showers can do. This is where the pragmatics say, “You get under it, you turn on the tap, and you’re done.” Nope. Getting the water at the right temperature usually wastes a lot of water.
Smart showering has the water at just the right temperature. A language command is all it takes, or the touch of a button. A small start-up in LA is causing quite a stir in this respect. Livin Shower fully integrates the shower in the concept of a Smart Home. Plus the system is compatible with language assistants such as Alexa and Google Home, and it can be connected to a sound system and music apps.
The secret: the control wheel on the shower not only starts the water and adjusts the temperature but, for instance, the volume of the connected speakers as well. And if you also connect the Livin Shower to an smart heating system – well, then the magic is just perfect. Because then you can have the following scenario:
“Google, activate the Livin Shower für Robert.” You’ve already entered the chosen temperature for the bathroom and shower water in the app, and this is now played. When you’re in the shower, you give the language command to start the Flashdance soundtrack – and get ready to party.
The app also tells you the water consumption, temperature and showering time. So there’s no long any need to check anything.
Mirror, mirror on the wall – what’s my horoscope?
Smart mirrors are effectively large tablets. In front of the actual screen is a semi-transparent mirrored surface that displays the graphic elements of the screen beneath it.
The functions offered by smart mirrors range from basic news functions (news, time, horoscope) to being used as a multi-functional instrument for the whole Smart Home, including its own language and gestures assistance. The offer is extensive, and the only question you need to ask is, “How long have I been looking in this mirror?”
Washlets: high-tech for the main business of the day
Much has been written about toilets. But the peak of the modern ceramic throne has been reached in 2018. Technically, washlets are a combination of a WC and a bidet.
The top models offered by various manufacturers – the name TOTO and its Neorest series instantly springs to mind – offers a complete intimate shower. The functions include a cleaning water jet for which you can set the hardness and temperature. Warm air dries the places where the sun don’t shine. Oh yes, and talking about warm air, an odour neutraliser is another of the feel-good functions. These hyper-modern toilet systems have long been standard in the bathrooms of Far Eastern metropolises. However, the European user is still a little shy when it comes to upgrading the bathroom.
But perhaps this will change soon. As always, demand determines the offer.
Smart bathroom: where to?
Technically, the future is already with us – even in the bathroom. Connectivity is a new challenge. Manufacturers just don’t always want to be compatible. Connections via language assistants such as Alexa, Google Home and Nest may be the suitable interface. With regard to user guidance as well. Music white you shower, the latest news while you brush your teeth and heated loo seats? Not tomorrow’s world any more, but just one small step from the status quo.
How smart is your bathroom today? And in which smart area would you like to see more?