The most exciting thing from CES was a trashcan

All my life I wanted a smart home. I mean, who hasn’t watched the Jetsons as a kid and thought, “Man, I want a flying car or a robot vacuum!” As I got older I attempted to rig together random products to do things they were not meant to do to create something for this purpose. Needless to say, that never turned out so well. The good thing for me is that I live in a time that others have designed some really amazing products. One of these products is the Simplehuman Sensor Can. It’s a voice-activated trashcan with a built-in motion sensor. It’s not something I normally get this excited about but as I have gotten older the thought of touching a dirty trash lid to open it grosses me out. For this reason, I was eager to get my hands on one of these amazing trashcans.


Simplehuman is a company that design tools that help people become more efficient at home. Included in their product line-up is this voice-activated trash can. Simplehuman actually has two different designs of ‘smart’ trashcan — the Sensor Can and the Sensor Can with an added Voice Sensor. The can itself is rectangular and has two sections — one for trash and the other for recycling. The motion sensor is located directly in between the two sections and with a simple wave of your hand, the lid will gently open. The sensor uses infrared fields to sense the area above the can so that it opens automatically when motion is detected. With the voice recognition option, you can simply say, “open can,” and the lid will also lift open.

The lid opening is a very smooth operation. That is due to the planetary gear system that transfers speed to torque for consistent movement. The lid opening only causes 52 dB of sound and is 50% quieter than Simplehuman’s competition. When it’s time to change the can liner, the liner rim flips upward for easy access. Simplehuman included a special storage pocket on the back of the can for your can liners. You can slip the refills into this pocket and be able to easily pull out replacement liners when you have to change them. The exterior of the can is made from stainless steel and protected with a nano-silver clear coat to prevent fingerprints and germs from adhering to the surface.


When the Sensor Can arrived, I was so excited that I dropped what I was doing and jumped right into getting this gem unboxed. The packaging was very nice. The box is black with an image of the Sensor Can on it and the words “Open Can” in a green bubble. Once the flap of the box is opened you will see a packet of instructions. Pull the protective cardboard out of the way and you can get to your new wonderful can. Also included in the box is the power cable and a set of double-seamed, extra strong H bags. It’s a trial pack of only ten so you should get busy and order a box of bags as soon as you can. You can do this from right here: Simplehuman Code H Bags.


There is really no major learning session here with the Sensor Can. It’s simple. You have two options to power your can — through six (6) Double AA batteries or through the included power adapter. I started with the AA batteries as I wanted to try it right away in my home office. The batteries work fine and I would suggest you use the batteries even if you are powering it by the cable as a backup in case of a power outage. Like I said above, it’s very simple to operate and there is only one command you need to know — “Open Can.”

When my hands are full, I can say this as I walk towards my trashcan and it will open. I have truly found this to be so convenient. Once I moved the Sensor Can to my kitchen I plugged it into the power outlet and found that the can operates the same. No difference in speed or of it hearing me say the command words. This is something I wanted to point out in case you are only planning on using it with the batteries. You shouldn’t find yourself in a predicament lacking any resources from the can.

The included package of bags is pretty neat as you will find there is a place built into the can for them to be placed. This makes for replacing your custom liners in your can again super simple. I know where my bags are and know when to place an order for more because they are right in front of me. Speaking of placing orders, Simplehuman has an iOS app that makes for placing orders for more liners a quick and painless experience. When using it you have the options to checkout using ApplePay, PayPal, or you can enter your credit card manually if you don’t use either of the other two payment options. You can choose from 120 or 240 liners priced at $31.50 and $54.00 (at the time of publishing this article). The Simplehuman app also allows you to add other devices like the Soap dispenser so you can order refills if you need too. As convenient as this is I really like shopping on Amazon so I normally place my order of new bags via my Amazon Echo or from the link above.

One thing I will note is that while the motion sensor isn’t overly sensitive, it will pick up passing movements. We have our can placed in a high traffic area of our kitchen and every time someone walks by, the can opens. I’ve not noticed this having an effect on the can’s battery life yet, but it’s something to be aware of.


CES was full of amazing technology that makes your home smarter but for me, it was something a simple as a voice-activated trashcan that really made me excited. The ability to open my blinds and turn on my lights hands-free has been around for a few years now but opening my trashcan with my voice was very new to me. It made me feel like a kid again watching the Jetsons hoping to someday have a home in the future.

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