Father's Day is meant to be a day for your Dad to relax. One of the things that technology does well — most of the time — is to take the hard work out of manual labor, and with the brilliance of robotics you can make that happen. Here are four smart home gadgets, including two robots, that can make your father's life that little bit easier.
In Australia, we have some of the largest houses and some of the largest properties per capita in the world. That means a lot of lawn — and that lawn has to be mowed. Traditionally, that's usually been Dad's job, and you can help him out more than a little bit with a smart home gadget like Husqvarna's Automower, a robot that you can teach exactly where to mow and exactly how often to do it.
If your family is living on a traditional quarter acre the Husqvarna Automower will handle any regular terrain differences around your garden, and smart guidance also makes sure it won't accidentally massacre your Dad's prized rose patch either. Robots have come a long way in the last few years, and the fact that you can buy a robot to mow your Dad's lawn is the absolute pinnacle of that.
Vacuuming is not especially fun, but it has to be done. To that point, you want to make it every bit as easy as possible, right? And that's why you — or your Dad — should invest in a robotic vaccum cleaner. It's an investment that makes everyone's life that little bit easier. And Samsung makes one of the very best; the VR9200 is the latest from the company, and it's very good at the job that it does.
Buying a robotic vacuum cleaner isn't a panacea — it doesn't take 100 per cent cleaning duty away from your Dad, or anyone else in your house that knows how to lift a broom or push a mop. What it does do is massively reduce the amount of work that anyone cleaning the house has to do; especially if your house's floors are mostly hardwood, a robotic vacuum can pick up the lion's share of dust and debris to make the entire process much easier.
Everybody likes flashy lights. It's as simple as that. The Philips Hue makes that happen. The Hue is a smart, Wi-Fi-connected light bulb — or network of dozens of light bulbs, if you're so inclined — that can be adjusted by smartphone app or by schedule, giving your Dad access to everything from security lighting while he's away from home to funky any-colour lighting to accompany anything from a movie-watching session to an all-out raging party.
As long as you have a smartphone or tablet to control it all, or the time and interest to set up different schedules or recipes through the IFTTT service, Philips' Hue lights are the most powerful and versatile red-green-blue LED globes on the market. If these aren't to your liking, take a look at LIFX — it's an Aussie company with some equally excellent hardware and an app that's every bit as useful.
The big hook of the new Apple TV, in our opinion, isn't the fact that it handles pretty much every streaming video service you can think of — all of Australia's major live TV streaming channels, as well as Netflix, Stan, and Presto — but the fact that it can act as a hub for the most powerful smart home that you can get today. And your Dad can get Siri to turn your lights on, unlock your doors, and adjust your air conditioning all with his voice.
With the help of the new Home app in Apple's iOS 10, the Apple TV acts as the smart home hub for other gadgets like the Philips Hue that we've mentioned above. Any Apple HomeKit-compatible device can be controlled, and there's only going to be more and more of those as time goes on. Buying a fourth-gen Apple TV is an investment, and you also get one of the best media streaming and big-screen casual gaming gadgets on the market at the sametime.