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Tech up your home with these smart gadgets

Unlock the door with your smartphone, upgrade your old CD player into a wireless music system or access various social networks through your television set. Here are some gadgets that can change your lifestyle for the better

Home is where the heart is. Add to that, a few smart devices and your life is much easier. Today technology allows you to get inside the house without a key, a light that switches on when it knows you are around the corner and devices that let you measure how much power your air conditioner is using. Here are a few technology hacks for your home:

Make your TV smarter
Chances are your flat screen TV is old and you are itching to make it smart. This can be done easily by getting an Amkette EvoTV. The Smart Box XL is an Android-based media player, priced at R10,500, which can handle most video, audio and image file formats. You can connect external storage devices to it and access them simultaneously. There are built-in apps to support various social networks, Skype and You Tube. 

The EvoTV Store lets you purchase and download apps and games. The remote control doubles up as a motion-sensing controller to play games.

It functions like an air mouse with the click button present on the underside. The remote has a speaker and a microphone built into it, which can be used for Skype chat. EvoTV XL can act like a computer by connecting it with a USB mouse and keyboard.

Turn your kitchen into an entertainment zone
With so many apps out there to help you manage your recipes and help you try out new dishes, having a tablet in your kitchen is a boon. Kitchens tend to be hot and humid, and there are chances you may touch the tablet with greasy hands. 

The Sony Xperia Tablet Z starting at R30,999 is a great tool for this purpose. With a beautiful 10.1-inch screen, it is large enough to be mounted on the wall and is water and dust resistant, so you can handle it with those wet hands if you want. If not for recipes, you can even use it to play music or watch your favourite soap, while you cook for your family.

Bluetooth for old stereo
Have an old CD player or a cassette player that is lying redundant but you don’t have the heart to throw it away? Upgrade it to a wireless music system by adding the Logitech Bluetooth Adapter. This small device costs you R1,799 and connects over RCA (Radio Corporation of America) cables to your cassette/CD player or a 3.5-mm earphone cable. RCA cables are those with three colour-coded plugs, which connect to three correspondingly-coloured jacks As long as your player supports an Aux Input, you can hook up the Bluetooth adapter and then stream music directly from your phone to your stereo systems. 

When you have guests over, a single press of the Bluetooth pair button on top of the unit will let them connect their phones too and they can share their music with you.

Keyless entry
How many times have you locked yourself out with the keys inside your home? In such cases, you either get a locksmith to come to your rescue or wait for your family members or room partner to turn up with the spare key. 

Things would be much easier if you had a lock such as Kevo from Kwikset [US$ 299]. Once installed, it uses your Smartphone and Bluetooth to unlock the door. All you have to do is reach the door and touch the lock with your finger, while the paired phone is lying in your pocket or bag. You can use the mobile App to send out an eKey to other people, control people who have access to your house and when can you use the same app to control multiple locks at different locations. Though Kevo is not available in India right now, you can order it via Amazon.com.

You can also use a Biometric lock similar to the one being used in most of the offices now. The Zicom Fingerprint locks start at Rs 11,500 and fit any existing door. You can programme the finger-prints of the people you want to give access to and don’t have to worry about losing those keys any more.

Turn your bathroom into a haven
The bathroom is often a place where you ruminate over many things in your life. To make it all the more user-friendly, opt for the Kohler Numi. At a hefty price tag of Rs 6,50,000, it’s compact and streamlined to fit into the smallest of washrooms. With hands-free operation to open and close the toilet seat, you don’t have to fight with your spouse any more when it comes to who has left the seat up. Integrated Advanced bidet and a dryer ensure your tush is clean and dry without using your hands. An efficient flushing system uses anywhere between 2.3 and 4.8 litres of water.

The temperature of the seat can be prefixed, so no more early morning winter freeze. While you sit on a warm seat the floor level vents give out warm air to keep your feet warm and heat up the floor under them. The air inside the Numi is pulled through a powerful deodorising charcoal filter ensuring that your washroom always smells fresh. All the functions of the WC are managed using a 4.3-inch touch screen remote that you can mount on the wall or play with it while you answer nature’s call.

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