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December 27, 2017

Top most pointless IoT devices of 2017

Now your smartphone can nag you about the housework too.

By Sabrina Dougall

Dear reader, CBR has scoured the cavernous barrel of the great online marketplace to dredge up the most ridiculous Internet of Things devices for sale. Hold onto your tinfoil hats, folks, because IoT has gone further than toasters. A lot further.

Internet of Things sounded like fun when it was all fairy lights and thermostats. But in the game of IoT, there are no rules. Now every household robot is fair game – not to mention the objects you were fine with keeping analogue. Pets, consider yourselves warned.

And if you didn’t already know about 360 degree immersive porn then, congratulations, you are the last one. Here we go…

 5) Dental camera connected to smartphones and tablet, c. £70


Massively pointless unless the user is a genuine dental professional is the IoT stick camera for inspecting teeth. This handheld image-capture device will stream those (not-so) pearly-whites straight to a smartphone. Exploiting the average human’s endless fascination with their own biometrics (along the same lines as the Fitbit-obsessed friend who constantly offers updates on their sleep cycle), there’s now an IoT device for that. Is now a good time to point out that any smartphone or tablet already has a built-in front-facing camera?

No? Well if teeth do not appeal, fortunately there is a version for ear, nose and throat for £37-40. In case you have ever wanted to watch a live video stream of the inside of your nephew’s ear, now you can inform more childish attendees of Christmas dinner about the Earpick WiFi otoscope/endoscope camera. Err, wash between uses please.

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4) An internet-connected dishwasher, £1,019

IoTConsumer is king, as they say, and the king wants an internet-connected dishwasher. Bosch has obliged, and produced the Serie 8 PerfectDry Dishwasher 60cm Home Connect WiFi connectivity. Optimised for “saving water and energy”, the Bosch machine will readily link a WLAN. In case the overload of tech causes the smart machine to spark out, remote monitoring could enable engineers to diagnose the sickly robot via broadband connection. In fairness, the PerfectDry does have an A+++ energy efficiency rating. As yet, it is not immediately clear why a Wi-Fi-enabled dishwasher is a welcome convenience of modern life.


3) VR porn [NSFW] £0-700+

A controversial topic, but internet-connected sexual entertainment devices are perhaps the most long-awaited of IoT items. Inexpensive Internet of Things sex toys are available on most online marketplaces, often consisting of a VR headset and various hand-held devices. Research firm IDC estimated the global spend on AR and VR would reach $14 billion by year’s end and $143 billion by 2020 – no wonder the adult entertainment industry wants to get some.

Sex industry giant Pornhub launched its VR channel in March 2016, and, more recently, partnered with app-makers BaDoinkVR to build Android and iOS apps for Google


Cardboard and other VR headsets. Interestingly, Pornhub recorded a massive spike in its VR video views on Christmas day in 2016: more than 900,000, compared with a previous daily average of around 350,000.

Immersive experiences are also available for download onto Gear VR, Oculus Rift (via Whirligig Viewer or Autoplay VR), Playstation VR and more. SexlikeReal app is one of the most popular, although one drawback is that it requires continuous internet connection. An advantage is that the app offers quick navigation back to Oculus Home in case of unexpected interruption.


2) WiFi-Connected “Smart” Air Purifier, £173.80


The Winix PlasmaWave HR1000. Stylish…

Forgive the naivity, but I actually thought I had seen it all until I found the Winix PlasmaWave HR1000 True HEPA WiFi-Connected Smart Air Purifier. Like any other air purifier, it has four speed settings and an air quality indicator with five units measuring between ‘high’ and ‘low’. Unlike most air purifiers, it is also connected to the world wide web. The Winix machine has a sleep setting, a timer function and is a complete eyesore to boot. For a smart machine, it truly resembles a dislodged condom dispenser from a 1980s public toilet. Needless to say, the devices are available at considerable discounts online.

It’s not only niche retailers who have invested in what is disconcertingly becoming a trend in homeware technology. Dyson, manufacturer of all things fabulously over-priced (this is the company that brought out a hairdryer for “only” £300), will drip-feed any pointless tech addiction by streaming air purification data (example: “Good”) directly to a smartphone as it “automatically” sucks unwanted air particles or allergens into a discrete compartment. If the devouring anxiety of not knowing just how “Good” the air quality of one’s home is while out and about is the main concern in a customer’s life, perhaps it is time to re-evaluate priorities.


1) Bluetooth-connected iron, c. £1050 

I’m waiting for someone to tell me this is a joke, but the Laurastar iron with Bluetooth connectivity is appearing terrifyingly real. Released this October, the Swiss manufacturers apparently missed the clue that the fact no one else had made this before is probably for a good reason. For those who do not have enough IoT in their life, the Laurastar clothes iron has three “personalised tutorial levels”  “beginner”, “advanced” or “expert” to teach its


user how to be better at ironing. On its website, Laurastar says the item “helps optimise your ironing technique by comparing it to the ideal movement demonstrated on the interactive video of the app”. Unfortunately, it will not teach someone how to better manage their money. Archimedes, Ada Lovelace, Thomas Edison… Laurastar. Humanity, we must be able to do better than this.

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