Plugged In

Pollen-Busting Clothes Washer is Smarter than Your Fifth-Grader
Nothing cleans like steam. At least, that’s what the infomercials say. If you’ve got bona fide allergies or are stricken with “environmental sensitivities” (real or imagined), the LG SteamWasher should bring some relief. The washer’s SteamFresh, Allergiene, and Sanitary cycles remove the nasty microscopic pollens that get trapped in your gardening clothes, though you might need a master’s from MIT to navigate the washer’s LCD control panel. $1,299–$1,599, Home Depot, 5 Allstate Rd., Dorchester, 617-442-6110,

Robot Visits, So You Don’t Have To
Bedford-based iRobot (makers of the Roomba vacuum) has come up with an alternative to stressful family gatherings. Called ConnectR, this robot surrogate has a camera and sound system that connects you and your aging parents in Florida (or keeps track of Fido alone at home) over the Internet. It’s controlled remotely from your PC. $499.99,

Sound Stick for Better Flicks
Boston Acoustics’ TVee Model Two Soundbar makes an ideal companion to that massive flat-screen TV you just spent your entire bonus on. Its slender, quick-connecting (one cable!), stick-shaped speaker can be placed above or below the screen for movie-quality sound. It also comes with a wireless subwoofer. $399, Image Tech Home Theater Systems, 221 Chandler St., Worcester, 508-756-2000,