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LG HomeChat: text your washing machine, vacuum cleaner and fridge

At CES 2014, LG will demo a new HomeChat system that will allow Android users to chat via SMS messages with their smart appliances.
December 26, 2013

At CES 2014, LG plans to demo a new technology that will let users control smart appliances via simple text messages from an Android device and other supported platforms.

LG’s HomeChat technology, combined with the popular mobile messenger Line, will let users send simple messages to their appliances – provided these are smart devices – from a variety of mobile devices and computers. Line is available on Android, iOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Nokia Asha, Windows and OS X, while the HomeChat service will take advantage of a Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology.

Thus, home appliances will be pre-programmed to respond to simple text messages and react accordingly. For example, texting “I’m going on vacation” in HomeChat will get you an automatic response from a gadget such as “Should I convert to vacation mode?”. An affirmative answer from you will turn on vacation mode:

“[…] turn on the refrigerator’s power-saving mode, set the robotic vacuum cleaner to sweep the floor at 09:00 every day and set the washing machine to run a wash cycle on the day before your return.”

Initially, the text commands and answers will be available in English and Korean, with more commands to be added in the future. In addition to talking to appliances with help of text messages, these smart LG devices will offer additional features.

Smart refrigerators will let family members send photos to the fridge’s display from the smartphone using Line. Furthermore, users will be able to check what’s inside the fridge without opening the door and input foods in the Freshness Tracker feature of the Smart Manager app to monitor expiration dates. The app can also recommend dishes based on what’s inside the fridge.

Smart vacuums can be pre-programmed to clean the house at certain intervals, and provide more details when asked via text message on when the last cleaning was performed and what pattern was used.

As for the washing machine, HomeChat will let users download wash cycles to better suit their needs, but also to remotely start a load of laundry and monitor the status of the washer on the smartphone or LG Smart TV. Devices with NFC support such as LG Android handsets will be able to connect to the wash machine via NFC for diagnosis and to download new wash cycles.

Finally, the LG smart oven will be able to recommend recipes via the Recipe Search app combined with HomeChat, and auto-select the appropriate settings for the chosen dish.

Does any of that sound interesting to you? Will you buy more connected devices in the future to control them from your Android devices?