5 ways to jump-smart your e-home

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

It used to take a lot of money to make your home a smart home. A doctorate in software and/or electrical engineering didnít hurt, either.

Today, making your house smarter is as easy as plugging in a light bulb. Literally.

Better still, you can select the specific kind of intelligence you need: whether itís setting the right lighting for a romantic date, picking out a cute outfit, helping you become better at singing in the shower (or just helping you avoid being scalded.)

Here are five gadgets that will help you live smarter.

1. Improving your singing in the shower

Moxie Showerhead & Wireless Speaker, $199, kohler.com

What it is: A combination speaker and shower head.

Why itís so smart: It pairs with any Bluetooth-enabled device to deliver up to seven hours of music while you soap up. Of course, if youíre looking for the morning traffic report while you get ready, you can tune in to the news. But thatís not as fun to sing along with.

2. Helping you sleep better at night, but in a totally different way

Dreampad pillows, $159-179, dreampadsleep.com

What it is: A pillow that sings you to sleep Ö well, sort of.

Why itís so smart: Download the app, then plug your phone into this pillow (or use the Bluetooth adapter). Then via something called bone conduction, gentle vibrations from your music (or pre-loaded spa sounds) work their way into your ear. The makers say science backs them up when it comes to this productís ability to help you relax your way into a good nightís sleep.

3. Press here for a smarter home

Flic, starting at $34.99, flic.com

What they are: Brightly colored, programmable little Bluetooth-connected buttons replace your smartphone apps. Place wherever you choose ó your desk, bedside or near the tub ó and program them to do an appís job: from controlling lights, or turning on music, to ordering an Uber.

Why theyíre so smart: No one likes to fumble with a smartphone when taking a bath.

4. Your fashion sensor

Alexa Look, $199.99, amazon.com

What it is: Youíve probably heard of Amazonís Alexa, the tech companyís handy personal assistant. This is like Alexaís fashionista little sister.

Why itís so smart: More than just a voice-controlled camera that takes a full-length picture of your outfit, it uses an algorithm to assess your look. It tells you if youíre wearing a fashion do ó or donít.

5. Maybe the smartest purchase of all

Eero Home WiFi System, $399, eero.com

What it is: An easy way to extend the reach and reliability of your home Wi-Fi. It coats your home in a mesh of Wi-Fi signals to end dropouts and dead zones.

Why itís so smart: All those smart appliances? Theyíre basically dumb as a doorstop without a strong Wi-Fi signal to help them do their job.