Modern Fertility is offering a comprehensive fertility test for women who hope to be moms someday

There are a number of ways to find out more about your fertility these days — including from several at-home fertility test startups that have started to pop up in the last few years. Modern Fertility hopes to soon operate in much the same way, but with a more affordable option for testing 10 key hormones affecting women’s fertility.

Though Modern Fertility’s at-home test won’t be available till later this year, you can pre-order it on their website for $149 — though the price will go up after the pre-order at a yet-to-be determined date. Should you want to get started now, the startup also offers the comprehensive screening through a lab near you, though it’s not clear what the price is for that.

The kit includes checking your hormone levels for:

  • Anti-mullerian hormone (AMH)

  • Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH)

  • Estradiol (E2)

  • Luteinizing hormone (LH)

  • Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH)

  • Free thyroxine (FT4)

  • Progesterone (P4)

  • Prolactin (PRL)

  • Free Testosterone (Free T)

  • Total Testosterone (T)

Modern Fertility competitor Future Family, a startup offering financing options for egg freezing and IVF procedures, also sells two separate fertility tests you can take at home. The first test kit goes for $300 and includes the three most key hormone tests: AMH, FSH and E2. Future Family’s second test, Fertility Age Test Plus, includes testing for the first three hormones and three tests for thyroid dysfunctions TSH, TPO (thyroperoxidase) and T3/T4. (triiodothironine and thyroxine levels) for a similar price.

Everlywell, a startup offering myriad home health tests, includes a similarly comprehensive fertility kit as Modern Fertility for $400, but with 11 hormone tests — and not all of them are the same ones.

Half the price for more hormone testing seems like a deal. However, there’s a hot debate among these startups over just how many of these hormone tests, and which ones, are necessary. Everlywell, for instance, doesn’t include AMH because they consider that only necessary if you are about to undergo IVF. Future Family told TechCrunch only the three key tests are necessary unless you need thyroid testing, because the other hormone tests “are widely accepted by doctors as not being true indicators of fertility.”



Escaping From a Dire Diagnosis on

When my best friend since childhood wound up back on the oncology unit for her third relapse, I decided it was time to start online dating. I knew from Nance’s prior hospitalizations that talking about lymphoma and PET scans was not her idea of fun. A far better entertainment would be for me to get on so we could hang out together on her hospital bed scrolling through potential dates.

For 42 years, our friendship had been primary. We helped each other through every crisis — her separation, my divorce — along with our everyday worries as mothers. Putting myself back on the dating market for her pleasure was the least I could do. It would be just like what we had done since our shared fourth-grade crush on Tommy H.: having a blast checking out boys.

But there was another reason. I had begun hearing myself say, “This is not a dress rehearsal.” This meaning our lives. After a divorce 22 years earlier and a long post-marriage relationship, I had kept all potential romance light, which mostly meant dating charming but impossible men, not anyone with whom to spend the rest of my life. With Nance’s uncertain prognosis, “the rest of my life” took on new meaning.

“Let’s do it,” Nance said. “You deserve a big love.”

“You don’t deserve this,” I said as her doctor and a flock of medical students crowded into her room.

“Life’s for the living,” she said. “Let’s both get a new protocol for life.”

First, I needed to create a profile. The name I chose for myself? Darkbird9.

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“I understand the dark part,” Nance said, twirling my near-black hair. “And 9 is for your birthday. But what’s up with the bird?” She frowned to indicate it didn’t sound alluring.

“I thought it gave me glamour and mystery,” I confessed.

“Maybe if you’re hoping to date an ornithologist,” she said, shaking her head.

She and I composed a straightforward profile. No mention of beach walks. No glasses of fine wine. I said I was a book nerd despite Nance claiming that “nerd” isn’t a tantalizing word on a dating site.

Right away Nance wanted me to “wink” at a cute and much younger guy.

“I’m not winking,” I said. “And I’m not going on dates with men 15 years younger.”

She conceded that that made practical sense, but it was far less of a vicarious thrill for her. Luckily, because thrills on the cancer unit were my immediate concern, messages piled up in Darkbird9’s inbox. It was easy to weed out the unsuitable.

“You’re perfect,” one man wrote. “Marry me.”

“You’d look great in something silky,” another declared.

I didn’t reply to the gentleman who wrote, “I you want date and bring you to restaurant nice.”

It took discipline not to reconsider my ban on younger men, and not just because Nance kept saying, “This is bleak, Vik,” as we scrolled through the age-appropriate ones. There were paunchy men who penned letters tinged with sad, wry hopefulness. And fit guys in tight cycling shirts who asked to take me out between a scuba trip to the barrier reef and training for a triathlon in Utah. Their notes sounded aerobic.

Eventually I scheduled myself for five dates in a week: one at lunch each day, followed by a debrief on the oncology unit.

The next week Nance and I were sitting in an alcove on her floor, the Hudson River glimmering out the window. I was telling her how date No. 1 had proposed a second date as we finished our Cobb salads. As someone who had been online dating for months, he had assured me that our date was pretty much perfection.

A chemo drip in her arm, Nance said, “You don’t have to sleep with him, but would you go out again?”

“Perfectly nice,” I said. “But he’s not for me.”

In fact, the whole dating game seemed more and more like a pathetic diversion.

“Let me look at him again,” she said, tilting the screen.

I clicked on his profile.

“What were we thinking?” she said, wincing. “Show me tomorrow.”


Videos: Traditional Skills With a Modern Twist

Videos: Traditional Skills With a Modern Twist

Food summit attendees learn traditional skills; how to make bootagan using some modern conveniences

The Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit was about more than food sovereignty; it was also a way to share traditional skills, like making Anishinabe corn and flour mortars, or bootagan, which as Kevin Finny, director of the Jijak Foundation for the Gun Lake Pottawatomi in Michigan said are “useful for everything.”

Buddy Raphael, of the Grand Traverse Band of Chippewa, demonstrated his grandmother’s bootagan and said the tool was early the “earliest food processor.”

“The age and the history of how many people were fed with this; that amazes me yet today,” Raphael says as he talks about his family bootagan from 1938. It belonged to his grandmother, who was born in 1856.

His family bootagan is made out of a black birch tree, and the hammer is made from the heart of a black birch tree. Now they’re using wood like sugar maple, yellow birch and American elm.

Finny explains how the growth rings are tighter on the yellow birch and it has a different texture than the sugar maple, and the American elm is strong.

“The wood is almost like fiberglass, the fibers all crisscross,” Kevin Finny says in the video about the American elm. “If you make a basket out of elm bark or you make a lodge and you cover it with that elm bark, if you kicked it or you threw something at it, it wouldn’t break because the fibers are crisscrossed.”

Raphael says in the video that he remembers hearing his grandmother sitting there grinding. The bootagan can be used to grind rice meal, buckwheat, corn; really anything that needs to be ground up.

They were used during the food summit for many of the meals made for attendees. In the video, they were making rice flour, they were also used for making meal, corn mush, processing tree nuts, teas and herbs during the summit.

Finny explains in the video how they also came up with a way to cut down the time it takes to make a bootagan from five days to one day. The new way may not be quite as traditional, but it certainly takes those traditional skills to a modern level.

“Original method and the way we started on this was by blowing into a tube… lot of huffing and puffing, goes pretty slow, so the first few of them were done that way,” Finny says in the video. “Then got smart and I got a fireplace bellows… then somebody said to us ‘why not use an air compressor?’ We’re adaptable, and we can find really good ways to do things.”


Nine Ways A Traditional Office Space Lease Can Help Your Business

As your business continues growing, you will soon find yourself in need of new office space to accommodate your team and make room for further development. However, finding a home for your organization can be quite challenging, as any business is different and has very different needs and goals. Using a virtual office or working out of a home office might be the cheapest option, but it can damage your credibility and legitimacy, as research showscustomers are more likely to consider a brand trustworthy if it has an actual physical address and office space.

Co-working spaces are becoming an increasingly popular alternative, as they are generally deemed a more flexible and cost-effective option, yet many companies still prefer to lease their own commercial space and personalize it so that it fully reflects their brand values. With so many factors to consider, including location, size and price, and with other alternatives available, is signing a traditional office lease still a viable option nowadays? Below, nine leading members of Forbes Real Estate Council explain why a traditional leasing agreement is important and how it can help your business.

All photos courtesy of Forbes Councils members.

Members of the Forbes Real Estate Council add their input.

1. Create Brand Recognition

“Lights, Camera, Action!” Signing a traditional office lease will put your company brand in the spotlight. Your business will have instant “free” advertising by hanging your sign/logo on the building, decaling windows with a website/phone number and your business name can be listed on Google Maps. If cost concerns you, simply rent out extra space and profit by offering co-working space to others. – Angela Yaun, Day Realty Group

2. Increase Productivity And Creativity

The value of providing a shared space to your team is undeniable. What’s important to remember is that signing a traditional lease doesn’t mean you’re confined to traditional thought. Having a common space brings diverse minds together to get creative ideas on the table. With a whole team under the same roof, brainstorms become far more productive and idea sharing can happen on-the-fly. – Frederick Townes, Placester

3. Improve Your Google Local Online Presence

If you want to have have a Google local, which is extremely important to your online presence take a traditional office lease into consideration. Google does not approve locals for businesses using any type of short term or co-mingled office space like Regus or Instant Offices. That being said, if you are a local service, this is definitely something you want to consider. – Hillary Hobson, Highest Cash Offer

4. Lower Expenses Over Time

Traditional offices are usually cheaper for a longer term leases. With most co-working spaces, you’ll have to pay for a la carte services (like renting a conference room, administrative costs, etc.) in addition to the rent. These costs can quickly add up over time. – Susie Algard,



How a One-Time Washout Explains the Modern NBA

P.J. Tucker, left, recently signed a four-year, $32 million deal with the Rockets.

P.J. Tucker came into the NBA more than a decade ago and crashed out almost immediately. He was a 6-foot-6 player stuck between positions—too small to be a forward but too big to be a guard. The league had no place for him. After playing only 83 minutes in the NBA, he disappeared to another continent.

“P.J. was in, out, and to a large degree forgotten about by a lot of people,” said Andre Buck, his agent.

Then something funny happened. The strategic revolution in basketball over the last decade made teams reconsider their old prototypes and resulted in what Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens recently called the NBA’s three positions: ball-handler, wing and big. There is a premium on players who can be all three. Tucker is now one of those players.

That’s how someone who literally couldn’t play in the league has become one of the league’s most useful players. It’s also why the Houston Rockets signed Tucker to a four-year, $32 million deal this month—the longest and richest contract of his career. In the first year of his new deal, he will make about 43% more than he was paid last year and nearly 1,000% more than five years ago. There may be no one in the NBA whose value has increased so much in such a short amount of time.

Tucker wasn’t the most expensive Rockets signing (James Harden) or the splashiest addition to their roster (Chris Paul) and may not even be their biggest small forward when the season begins (Carmelo Anthony remains a trade possibility).

P.J. Tucker holds a Rockets jersey with general manager Daryl Morey.
P.J. Tucker holds a Rockets jersey with general manager Daryl Morey. PHOTO: KAREN WARREN/ASSOCIATED PRESS

But the pursuit of Tucker was the most revealing move from the NBA’s most aggressive team. It’s his incredibly unlikely career that best explains the evolution of basketball. He is a role player with a role that’s more important than ever.

“It’s just how the game has changed,” said the 32-year-old Tucker, “and I’ve been lucky enough to play long enough to see it change.”

The only way he could benefit from the game changing, though, was by changing his own game.

Tucker was a second-round draft pick in 2006 and played in just 17 NBA games before he spent the next five years bouncing around leagues in Ukraine, Israel, Greece, Italy and Germany. The odds of him being in the NBA again were as long as his exile. In the decade prior, according to Stats LLC, Anthony Parker was the only player who had done what Tucker was trying to do: begin his career in the NBA, leave for more than five seasons and then return on a prolonged deal.

But he realized something while maturing overseas that eventually brought him back. It’s a lesson that he imparts to younger players who want to be like him. “Figure out your niche,” he says, “and maximize it.”

It was obvious what Tucker’s niche had to be: playing defense and shooting 3-pointers. As it happens, those skills are coveted in today’s NBA.


  • The Houston Rockets Shoot From Outer Space
  • The Golden State Warriors Have Revolutionized Basketball
  • The High-School Team That Never Takes a Bad Shot
  • The Princeton Coach Who Changed the Game
  • The Great 3-Point Experiment

Tucker is able to defend every player on the court, point guard through center, because of his peculiar build. The very thing that had been a disadvantage—that he was an oversized guard but undersized forward—had become his advantage. “He’s a bear that’s as quick as a cat,” Buck said.

It was harder to imagine Tucker as an outside shooter. He didn’t take any threes in his first NBA stint. He attempted a total of four in his three years of college.

But he knew he couldn’t play if he couldn’t shoot. NBA teams didn’t need Tucker to score. They needed him to create space for the rest of the offense. He could help a team simply by standing in the corner and taking selfies with fans as long as he dragged a defender with him. By his last season in Germany, Tucker was hitting 48% of his threes. He was ready to come back to the NBA at the exact moment the league was ready to embrace him.

The best teams in the NBA understood that frontcourt versatility was increasingly valuable. And suddenly Tucker found himself in demand. He was no longer a tweener. He was now positionless.

“He turned himself into this player who’s super useful to all these NBA teams,” said Rockets general manager Daryl Morey.

The Phoenix Suns offered him a contract in 2012 for the league minimum with no guarantees he’d make the roster that year. Tucker was there for the next five years. He then re-signed with the Suns in 2014 to his first multi-year, million-dollar deal.

LeBron James goes head-to-head against P.J. Tucker.



‘I slept on the floor in a flat near Harrods’: stories of modern slavery

When Elvira arrived at Heathrow in 2014, she thought she had escaped the abuse she’d faced as a domestic worker in Qatar. Yet the exploitation the Filipino woman was about to suffer would surpass anything she experienced in the Middle East. The 50-year-old was taken to a luxury flat in Kensington, where her boss, the sister of her “madam” in Qatar, made her work 20 hours a day, allowing her only one piece of bread and no wages. She was trapped in a life of servitude, while metres away central London bustled with shoppers.

More than 200 years since it was abolished, slavery is thriving. The UN’s International Labour Organisation estimates that 21 million people around the world are trapped in some form of modern slavery. In many cases, the physical shackles of the past have been replaced by less visible but equally effective forms of coercion and control: a worker on a factory line crippled by recruitment debts he or she cannot pay back; a man on a construction site in a foreign country without his passport or wages; a woman selling drugs on a roadside threatened with beatings and rape if she doesn’t earn enough. Dig deep into the supply chain of the world’s major commodities, and you’ll find instances of slavery. From the food we eat to the phones we use and the clothes we wear, its influence is pervasive.

Record numbers of people are fleeing violence and poverty, and traffickers are ready to exploit them. The International Office for Migration believes 70% of migrants arriving in Europe by boat have been victims of human trafficking, organ trafficking or exploitation. In the UK, the government estimates there are 13,000 people trapped in slavery, working in hotels, care homes, nail bars and car washes, or locked in private houses that have been turned into brothels.

“As a business model, slavery is a no-brainer,” says Siddharth Kara, an economist and director of human trafficking and modern slavery at Harvard’s Kennedy school of government. “It’s a low-cost, low-risk business that generates huge profits. To be two or three centuries on from the first efforts to eradicate slavery and still to have it permeating every corner of our economy is a damning indictment of our failure to tackle this highly lucrative criminal industry.”

In London, Elvira managed to make a bold escape, waiting until her “employer” was taking a nap before running to a nearby church for sanctuary. She is still waiting for justice. Much exploitation goes unpunished and unrecognised: data from the US State Department shows that in 2016 there were only 9,071 convictions globally for forced labour and trafficking offences.
To get a picture of what slavery looks like today, we talked to people all over the world who have experienced it first-hand. Their stories, which show how quickly one can become trapped and exploited, give an insight one of the biggest human rights challenges of our time.

Elvira, 50, Philippines

Portrait of former domestic slave Elvira


New record: $2,090 a month is average cost of one-bedroom rental in Vancouver

For more than a year, Vancouver has taken top spot for the most expensive city to rent in Canada and now the city of glass has broken another record.

In July, the average price of rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Vancouver hit $2,090 a month; which is the first time this type of property has cracked the $2,000 mark since Padmapper started tracking rental data. Padmapper collects rental data from 25 of Canada’s biggest cities based on population.

In June the average price for renting a one-bedroom was $1,950. That’s a 2.5 per cent jump in cost from June to July and year-over-year price of a one-bedroom in Vancouver has increased by 15.5 per cent.

Similarly, rent for a two-bedroom grew by 2.5 per cent in July to $3,230 a month.

READ MORE: West End residents fight against “unfair” rent increases

While Vancouver stays poised at the top of the list, Toronto comes in second consistently with rents increasing only slightly (0.9 per cent) to $1,800 a month for a one-bedroom and $2,430 for a two-bedroom.

Affordability for both renters and homeowners continues to be a hot topic in Metro Vancouver.

In March, tenants on Vancouver’s west side fought against a 35 per cent rent increase. The landlord of the building, located in the 1000-block of West 13th Avenue wants to raise the rent above this year’s legally-capped limit of 3.7 per cent under a clause of the Residential Tenancy Regulation.

READ MORE: Housing affordability taking huge swipe at Metro Vancouver’s ‘missing middle’: Report

The province currently caps annual rent increases at 3.7 per cent, but landlords can apply for exceptions if the rent they are currently charging is significantly lower than what is being charged for similar suites nearby.

The City of Vancouver conducted a survey of 10,000 residents, which resoundingly said affordability is their top priority and the city’s new housing strategy should prioritize housing based on what local residents can afford.

The survey also found that many residents believe investment pressure is a primary contributor to rising prices and that the majority of renters are concerned about their future in Vancouver — with affordability being a main reason why they might choose to leave. City staff will be reporting to council on July 25 with the results of the public consultation, housing targets in the next 10 years and actions to achieve those targets.

Victoria also remained in the top five even though rent fell by 5.1 per cent for one-bedroom units ($1,120/month) and slightly increased by 0.7 per cent for two-bedroom apartments ($1,410/month).



A Museum Show Asks: How Modern Are Your Spanx?

Most famous of the quips attributed to the Austrian-born American designer Rudi Gernreich — now best remembered for his unisex creations and the topless bathing suit — was the dictum that “Fashion will go out of fashion.” As early as the 1960s, Gernreich foresaw a gradual winding down of the engine that had long propelled it: a pursuit of novelty and “modernity.”

“Items: Is Fashion Modern?,” the first show the Museum of Modern Art has devoted to the subject since Bernard Rudofsky’s seminal exhibition “Are Clothes Modern?” in 1944, takes up the multiplicity of questions provoked by a design field that, despite playing an integral part in all of our lives, continues to defy easy comprehension.

Never mind whether fashion is “modern.” What precisely is fashion in the first place? Is it just garments? Or is it a complex system, or an art form, or a cluster of random typologies? Those, among other hefty issues, will be taken up by the ambitious (and welcome) MoMA show, curated by Paola Antonelli, senior curator of the department of architecture and design at the museum — and a seasoned design world gadfly. The show will open in October.

To trace the history of fashion through objects and their ancient archetypes, the show’s organizers dipped into the material slipstream and fished out 350 objects representing 111 “typologies.” Just how deliriously diverse those typologies are was made clear by the museum on Wednesday with the release of a list itemizing the things to be displayed. And what a list it is, from kaffiyehs to kilts, flip-flops to guayaberas, pencil skirts to moon boots, Speedos to Spanx.

There is, of course, the classic little black dress, though rendered variously by designers and labels as disparate as Arnold Scaasi, Versace, Rick Owens, Dior and Chanel. There are platform shoes from Delman, Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen, as well as some anonymous designers whose imaginations outstripped considerations as pedestrian as locomotion. There is, among the welter of things to be shown, a Rolex Datejust watch, some Lululemon Boogie pants and a pair of Olaf Daughters clogs no stereotypical Woody Allen character would once have been without. From someplace else on the spectrum of stereotyped wealth and consumption, there is a Birkin bag.

Hoodies and door-knocker earrings represent hip-hop style, or a variant of it. More conservative and demure forms of fashion expression take the shape of Thea Porter caftans, a pearl necklace, a button-down shirt and a bottle of Chanel No. 5. Another cause for eager anticipation is “Items: Is Fashion Modern?,” a publication bolstering the curators’ efforts to examine the profound effects that accessories and clothes have had on the culture of the 20th and 21st centuries. Perhaps as tantalizing as the learned essays and the weighty fashion discourse, there will also be a pop-up shop.

Prehistoric fossils suggest modern dogs evolved from a single population of wolves

The dogs of ancient Europe probably looked a lot like the mutts roaming Europe today, new DNA discoveries from dog fossils suggest. In the ongoing debate over how many times dogs were domesticated from wolves, this new study suggests it happened just once.

Dogs are the very first species that humans tamed, but the details surrounding dogs’ origins are a little fuzzy. Now, ancient DNA extracted from two 7,000-year-old and 4,700-year-old dog fossils discovered in Germany offer scientists a glimpse at dog evolution. Modern dogs probably descended from just one population that lived continuously in Europe for millennia, according to the research led by Krishna Veeramah at Stony Brook University.

Our furry friends likely evolved from a population of wolves domesticated sometime between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago. Exactly who domesticated these wolves, when, and how many times, is still a mystery, and scientists don’t agree on the answer. Dogs were probably domesticated by accident, when wolves began trailing ancient hunter-gatherers to snack on their garbage. Docile wolves may have been slipped extra food scraps, the theory goes, so they survived better, and passed on their genes. Eventually, these friendly wolves evolved into dogs. “People want a story that someone picked up a wolf cub and made a dog — but it’s been a much more complex process than that,” Veeramah says.

This is where the 4,700-year-old dog skull was discovered, in a cave next to human remains. 
Photo: Timo Seregely

Last year, researchers led by Oxford’s Greger Larson argued that DNA from a 5,000-year-old Irish dog fossil showed signs that this complex evolution happened not once, but twice: once in Europe, and once in Asia. The dogs domesticated in Asia later replaced some of the early European dog population, they reported.

Today’s study disputes those findings, however, arguing instead that a single group of dogs were probably first domesticated between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago. (They don’t say where.) These ancestral dogs then split into Eastern and Western populations. The dogs that stayed in Europe are likely the distant ancestors of modern European mutts and many of today’s breeds, the study reports today in Nature Communications.

It’s a solid paper, says Adam Boyko, a dog geneticist at Cornell University who wasn’t involved in the research. And most of the field would probably agree with its conclusions: that dogs were probably domesticated just once, and within the 20,000-year window Veeramah proposes. “Certainly dog geneticists can be a contentious group,” Boyko says. “I don’t think anyone’s overly invested in their own theory. It’s just that these are complicated questions, and everyone’s trying the best that they can to get the right answer.”

In fact, Gregor Larson’s team at Oxford — whose study last year supported the two domestications hypothesis — shared their data with Veeramah’s team. Their analysis of a 5,000-year-old Irish dog fossil revealed genetic traces of what might have been an extinct, European dog lineage, which they concluded could have resulted from a separate, earlier domestication event. But when Veeramah’s group reanalyzed the data, they couldn’t replicate the signal. “There wasn’t any evidence that this dog had anything special about it,” he says. Instead, he says they discovered a technical glitch behind the findings supporting two domestications, which they reported in their study today.

Veeramah’s team also extracted DNA from two more dog fossils discovered in Germany over the last 20 years. They re-created a canid family tree by comparing chunks of DNA from these ancient dogs and today’s purebreds, mutts, and wolves. By counting the genetic differences, and estimating how long it would take for those differences to show up, they could roughly date when each of these groups split apart. For wolves and dogs, that was roughly 20,000 to 40,000 years ago. For Eastern and Western dog populations, it was probably between 17,000 and 24,000 years ago.

The two ancient German canines turned out to be genetically related to one another, and to the dogs of today despite living thousands of years apart. There was a key difference though: today’s dogs are much more able to digest starches than these ancient dogs, thanks to a digestive enzyme. More copies of the gene for this enzyme help dogs digest starches better, and modern dogs have a lot of copies. These ancient dogs didn’t have nearly as many, however, so this adaptation to domestic life may have emerged later, possibly when agriculture and grain became more widespread.

“The paper brings us back to the idea that there’s a single event,” Boyko says. And it highlights how important ancient DNA will be for piecing together dogs’ contentious origin stories.


Sharp trips to the future with a quartet of smart appliances



Sharp smart appliances

Sharp has entered the world of connected appliances with a new smart oven, fridge-freezer, washing machine and dishwasher. But the aim here is much more than just app control.

At its impressive Vestel City factory complex in Turkey, Sharp unveiled four smart appliances that it hopes will bring your home into the 21st century.

Related: Best kitchen gadgets


Sharp smart appliances 1The real headliner of the new range is the Love2Cook Smart Oven (£699), which has 150 recipes built in, ranging from Peking duck to paella, each with their own cooking programmes. Instructions are can be found within the companion app, then the oven sets the temperature and time – it even tells you the correct shelf to use. According to Sharp, these recipes have been compiled by top-class professional chefs using this exact oven, so they should be fairly idiot-proof.

Of course, the oven can also be controlled remotely via the app, so you can get it preheated before you’ve even got home from work. Maybe remotely start up the RoastPro Turnspit and use the app to check the temperature of your meat thanks to the RoastPro Digital MeatProbe. This isn’t the dark ages, after all.

The Love2Cook oven is available in stainless steel or black – no old-school white option for this modern smartie.


Sharp smart appliances 2Next up is the Smart Double French Door Fridge-Freezer (£2012), which enables in-app adjustment of the temperature within its fridge and freezer compartments. One or both of the freezer compartments can even be set as extra refrigeration space. You can also remotely set the fridge-freezer to holiday mode via the app, even if you’ve only already left for the airport.


Sharp smart appliances 3The Sharp Smart Washing Machine (£875) enables you to set a time delay or programme through the app, and has an 8kg capacity. It also has a super-speedy 12-minute cycle for emergency cleaning of up to 2kg of clothing for a night out or weekend away. Never find us being that disorganised, though. Ahem.

Other functions of the washing machine include 22 stain-fighting functions and an Allergy UK-approved AllergySmart programme for combating allergies caused by pollen, mould, pet hair, fungus and household dust mites as well as four different types of bacteria.


Sharp smart appliancesLast but not least is the Sharp Smart Dishwasher (£875), which has space for 14 place settings and is A+++ energy rated. As with the washing machine, it has a particularly fast wash option, with 18 minutes being its quickest – the fastest you’ll find for a four-place-setting cycle.

To boost drying time, the dishwasher’s AutoDoor function automatically opens the door – you probably guessed from the name, right? – to let out any excess steam after the cycle’s finished.

In addition to all this remote smart control, there’s a much more practical purpose for the net-connection of these appliances: servicing and maintenance. Hold up, it’s not as dull as it sounds. The moment these Sharp models sense anything not working the way it should, they ping an error code automatically to aftersales. That means you could be contacted by Sharp before knowing anything’s even wrong.

If the fault is customer-fixable, however – such as the fridge door being left open – a notification will just be sent to you through the app. Now that really is smart.


Sharp smart appliancesWhat’s more is that, having tried the app control for all of these appliances, we found it all very slick. All four are controllable through the same app, too.

Sharp is apparently working on integration for control from at least one of the most popular digital AIs. We wouldn’t be surprised if Amazon Alexa support wasn’t far off.