The gadget: Twine
How it works: A sensor node monitors atmospheric changes, then alerts you via text, e-mail, or Twitter.
The payoff: You can tailor the alerts to at-home requirements: when the front (or fridge) door is open, when the dog's bowl is empty—or when the bath you're running is ready. $99; supermechanical.com/twine
The gadget: Belkin WeMo
How it works: This device allows you to remotely control electrical outlets via a smartphone app.
The payoff: Switch lights on/off, start a pot of coffee, turn on your stereo—or use the Motion Sensor to activate them based on movement. WeMo Home Control Switch, $50; Motion Sensor, $60; belkin.com
The gadget: Samsung WF457 Washer and Dryer
How it works: These Wi-Fi-enabled machines can be operated via a SmartHome app.
The payoff: Never wait on your laundry again—start or stop a load with your phone and get an alert when the cycle is done. $1,700 each (available this spring); samsung.com
The gadget: Somfy Systems WireFree Solar Pack
How it works: An easy-to-install photovoltaic panel that adjusts motorized window shades.
The payoff: Saving energy—your home's and your own—this slim solar panel offers intuitive temperature control and keeps things in a good light. $220; somfysystems.com