Rick BissonThe annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is the first global trade event of the year. Each year CES showcases the latest in cutting edge technology. Below are four of the most exciting home related projects unveiled this year.

Imagine individuals walking into their home, letting their dog out and unloading their groceries while the whole time their phone is being charged – wirelessly. No cords, no wall chargers – just automatic wireless charging. Wi-Charge power is delivered over distances using infrared beams of light. The system consists of two units:

The transmitter unit – connected to a power source, delivers power to receivers anywhere in its vicinity. The transmitter emits focused, safe infrared beams that carry power to receivers. The receiver unit captures the light from the transmitter and converts it to electrical power using a photovoltaic cell, just like solar panels convert sunlight into electricity.

Wi-Charge won the CES 2018 Best of Innovation Award and is the first company to receive FDA approval for long range wireless power, having passed the power, range, and safety test.

LG unveiled their InstaView ThinQ refrigerator, featuring a 29-inch touchscreen that becomes transparent if individuals knock on it twice. Users can write notes on the screen, pull up recipes and receive expiration date notifications. Consumers can also use Amazon Alexa to talk to their InstaView ThinQ.

The InstaView ThinQ refrigerator is compatible with the LG SmartThinQ app so individuals can remotely check on the contents of the refrigerator and create and share shopping lists between their smartphone and refrigerator.

Samsung revealed “The Wall,” a modular TV system with 8K resolution that merges multiple borderless MicroLED TVs into one giant screen that measures up to 146 inches diagonally and can occupy an entire wall.

According to Samsung, TV size shouldn’t be arbitrary.

Jonghee Han, president of Visual Display Business at Samsung says, “As the world’s first consumer modular MicroLED television, ‘The Wall’ represents another breakthrough. It can transform into any size, and delivers incredible brightness, color gamut, color volume and black levels. We’re excited about this next step along our road map to the future of screen technology, and the remarkable viewing experience it offers to consumers.”

Kohler has announced that it will bring a new series of smart home products along with a new software platform called KOHLER Konnect. Kohler’s shower can have a number of different voice-activated presets, so individuals can set the water temperature, steam, lighting, and music. Users no longer have to physically adjust the settings every time.

Another of the Kohler Konnect features is a bath that is able to draw a tub at a specified temperature and stop pouring when the bath is full.

Kohler Konnect also has a voice-activated faucet called Sensate that can draw a set amount of water. Verdera, Kohler’s Voice Lighted Mirror, allows users to use Alexa to adjust the lights around the mirror and get a weather or traffic report.

Kohler’s Numi toilet allows individuals to activate a foot warmer, heated seat, bidet and even lighting and music. For anyone who would prefer the simpler toilet, Kohler offers a toilet with a heated seat and hands-free flushing.

GE revealed the Kitchen Hub, a 27-inch smart display that can be installed above the oven and also works as a functioning ventilator. The Kitchen Hub will connect to other GE connected appliances in and out of the kitchen, including ranges, wall ovens, refrigerators, dishwashers, washers and dryers. In theory, individuals could reach up to the hub and schedule a load of laundry while they sweat onions on the stove top.

The hub features cameras facing outward for video calls and cameras facing down to take pictures or video of stovetop activity. Users can also watch movies, listen to music and play videos that walk them through a recipe in real time. Like other connected GE Appliances devices, the Kitchen Hub will be able to work with Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant.

The overarching theme at CES 2018 was the rise of virtual assistants – particularly Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa. While neither company announced any new hardware of its own, each enlisted an army of partners who integrated voice support into speakers, ear buds, TVs, PCs, car dashboards, and countless other gadgets.

All these products have been part of CES for years, but for the most part they lacked the ability to talk to one another. By connecting the sea of CES gadgets to much larger ecosystems, Amazon and Google have presented a vision in which voice commands are available pretty much anywhere, and can control practically any device.

If you’d like to learn more about the products mentioned above and other cutting-edge products from CES 2018, go to www.ces.tech. And if you’d like to learn more about what value these and other high-tech products would add to your home, ask your local trusted, expert Realtor.

This column is produced by Rick Bisson and his family, who own Bisson Real Estate with Keller Williams Realty of Midcoast and Sugarloaf.