Touchless tech is rising in popularity, even more so now as it fits perfectly with our pandemic lifestyle, where the norm is to interact with objects and people at a safe distance. Originally intended to provide efficiency in smart homes, touchless devices are now being used as hygienic measures to prevent cross-contamination.
Here are the current trends in touchless technology and the rapid changes in the way we interact with devices in the home:
Switches replaced by voice control and apps
With your smartphone, you get inside your home after turning off the alarm and unlocking the door. As you enter, a motion detector turns on the lights. In the bathroom, you wash your hands in the sink with sensor taps, which are no longer just in public restrooms. You make a request with your speaker to play some music as you go into your kitchen, where you tap on a screen to turn on the oven.
Apps on our smartphones have changed the way we interact with our home, as they replace buttons, switches and thermostats.
Our increasingly busy life has given us less time to spend on household tasks. Also, life has become easier for people thanks to innovations in the home appliance market.
Because of this, we are increasingly investing in autonomous appliances.
Appliances are becoming increasingly autonomous
We like to delegate work as much as we can. This is why robotic vacuum cleaners, for example, are rising in popularity. The only device that can totally take over a task are robots. The latest models get commands using a voice assistant. With this feature, the device can be used remotely and even at home. So, for example, you spilled a bottle of mineral water on the floor, just command the robot to clean up.
There are other features aside from remote activation. There is also the function that reduces the domestic workload. For example, there is a dishwasher in which the rinse aid and detergent are loaded into a big tank that automatically adjusts the amount for every wash.
Range hoods now don’t have buttons, even to turn it on and off. Even lights don’t need a switch to be turned on and off. While in some instances touchless technology is designed for practicality, others are aimed at simplifying design. The latest lamp models are built in with an infrared sensor to allow it to be turned on or dimmed with a simple hand movement.
Systems that are comforting and easy to use
Remote control systems are rising in popularity because of our desire for simplification and control. Having the ability to tell a voice assistant that you are going out so you can have the peace of mind knowing all the lights are off, the shutters are lowered, and some utilities are deactivated offers a benefit it terms of time efficiency and an assurance of safety.
Touchless technology also allows you to manage the temperature of your home in case your hands are busy preparing food, or maybe turning the lights on when you come home with bags full of shopping bags.
They also help in hygiene, which is important in settings such as holiday homes and short-term rental properties.
One thing about touchless technology is that it is intuitive. It just takes a little practice on how to come up with the correct command for a particular device.
What’s in store for touchless controls at home
Touchless technology will probably not capture the whole world. Different kinds of control are more likely to be inclusive instead of exclusive. This is the reason that many more touchless control systems will be invented, but they will always come with other options like conventional controls or apps.
The so-called Internet of Things, or the way devices communicate with each other, is poised for further growth with the addition of machine learning and AI features.
So, in the short term, not only will buttons to turn on appliances be eliminated, but the appliances themselves will know when and how to activate.
For example, when you leave your office at the end of the day, your smartphone uses geolocation to command your home heating system to start, so your home’s temperature will be just right when you enter. Comfort and the optimisation of energy use are in reality the genuine drivers of this technology.
Coming home after a hectic day is just a common instance that shows us how, without lifting a finger and even (almost) without thought, our relationship with home devices entails decreasing moments of interactions.