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Handyman: 50th electronics show focuses on connectivity

Glenn Haege
Special to The Detroit News

For 50 years, the Consumer Technology Association has introduced cutting edge products from the cassette Walkman to compact discs and Apple’s iPhone at its Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. For 2017, the golden anniversary of CES hosted a record number of 175,000 attendees and 6,500 media members.

Alongside the 3D printers and drones, the Smart Home portion of the show featured the latest technology that is changing how we monitor and control everything in our house.

Here are some of the products that really brought the concept of home connectivity to life:

■Carrier ( launched its Cor smart home automation system that enables homeowners to secure, control and remotely manage their home’s heating and cooling, safety and security systems from the convenience of a mobile app.

■Home safety company First Alert ( premiered the new Onelink system that can work with major smart home platforms to make it easy for consumers to monitor and control their homes’ comfort and safety from anywhere, including the thermostat, security system, lighting, and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

■Moen ( highlighted its U shower system to set the shower temperature, time and duration easier than sending a text. The U by Moen shower includes a digital valve that offers precise, thermostatic temperature control, and enables the user to connect up to four shower devices (such as showerheads or hand showers).

■Acurite ( displayed its Atlas and Atlas Elite weather monitoring systems with smartphone connectivity that can provide current weather conditions and forecasts.

■If you have ever lost a key or forgot the combination for a padlock, Dog & Bone ( showed its LockSmart keyless Bluetooth padlocks. By using your mobile device, you can open the LockSmart padlock without any physical keys, conveniently share virtual keys in an instant with other people, and track your lock’s use.

■Flir Systems ( introduced five new thermal imaging cameras at CES, including two new third generation FLIR ONE thermal camera attachments for smartphones. These attachments allow homeowners to do their own infrared thermal scan to determine where there may be water or air leaks in the home.

■Black and Decker ( has entered into the robot vacuum arena with its Smartech line of vacuum cleaners. Using an app on your smartphone, you can steer the Smartech vacuum and set a schedule for it. It also senses whether it’s vacuuming carpet or hardwood and switches modes automatically. Other features include a HEPA filter and 90 minutes of battery life before it needs a charge.

■Normally combining technology with water doesn’t end well. But with Rachio’s ( Smart Sprinkler Controller, you get control of your sprinklers and watering bill, right from your smart phone. Once you replace your current lawn sprinkler controller with the Smart Sprinkler Controller, you can manage all your yard’s zones to determine when, where and how to water your lawn using your smart phone.

■Airthings ( unveiled its latest innovation in the home technology market. The Wave radon detector gives instant insight into their indoor radon levels, accessible on a mobile device. Just a wave of the hand in front of the device activates a simple visual indicator light, which turns green (Good), yellow (Warning) or red (Danger) to alert users of their home’s air quality.

I have exclusive CES 2017 coverage of these items and more on my help site at by clicking on the Video Advice section. While flying cars and robot maids may still be a few years away, the concept of a smart home is catching on and proves to be more fact than fiction.

For more home improvement advice, call “The Handyman Show With Glenn Haege” on WJR-AM (760) at (866) ASK GLENN, (866) 275-4536 between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Sunday. “The Handyman Show” can also be heard on more than 140 radio stations nationwide.