Human progress is marked throughout history by great breakthroughs in innovation stretching back to ancient times. The wheel, the steam turbine, the internal combustion engine, wireless telegraphy, and the internet grace the mind’s eye when you think of our remarkable achievements, but perhaps one day we will think of IoT devices.
Today we are on a new frontier, with widespread internet connectivity, where vast and complex networks keep the world in sync. This is an advantageous situation in a plethora of ways, but a foremost trend is the Internet of Things, embedding technology within an object or device to link it into the connected world.
From this innovation we can expect entire industries to be disrupted, such as the ancient and complex behemoth that is insurance. IoT devices could streamline insurance for both the customer and the insurer alike, simplifying processes exponentially, and giving birth to Insurtech.
The huge increase in connected devices that has come out of the boom in IoT devices has resulted in some major problems, with hackers gaining access to critical information and launching attacks via these new entry points. This must make us consider whether we are being responsible by flooding the market with such devices.
CBR has discovered some of the most outrageous IoT devices, but it is up to you to decide whether they are milestones of innovation, or whether they are just completely absurd. While this list includes everything but the kitchen sink, I suspect someone out there is working on it.
Hang in there, I really am telling the truth. SMALT is a smart salt dispenser with an in-built speaker for streaming music, while also bringing colourful mood lighting to your dining experience.
The dispenser will measure you out either a pinch or a teaspoon of salt, depending on a command delivered via your smartphone, this involves you either pinching or shaking it. However, if you feel like being traditional, there is a good old manual dial to achieve the same effect.
SMALT is also widely compatible with your other devices, functioning with iOS, Android and Amazon’s Alexa. To experience this piece of dining innovation, the unit could cost you up to $200.
Panasonic Smart Table
While we are on the topic of dining innovation, this concept from Panasonic, launched at CES 2017, is a connected table that would allow you to control an interface that spreads across its entire surface. The Smart Table is set to be able to sync with a smartphone and be used for checking messages making video calls or surfing the web for example.
The Smart Table in concept would also allow the user to control other connected devices in the kitchen, giving you an array of control. While controlling your culinary domain from a seat at the table, induction pads also allow you to heat or cool a drink right there on the surface of the table itself.
Another feature of the Smart Table is its ability to act as a surveillance device, keeping you aware of potential burglaries or outbreaks of fire. Even if you do not need these kitchen table capabilities, you will almost definitely feel like Tony Stark when you are controlling the Smart Table.
The Aera Smart Fragrance essentially allows you to use a smartphone app to remotely control a device in your home that releases fragrance when you are not home. Using the app, you can select from a range of fragrances loaded into the device to create the effect you are looking for.
A company called Prolitec has been deeply involved in the development of this IoT product, and this company has been involved in work with high tech fragrance delivery in hotels and airports for example.
You are in fact able to choose from as many as twenty different fragrances to use in these IoT devices, and you can schedule when the scent will be delivered. If the user chooses to have multiple units active, a schedule can be created that involves all of them.
The Mimo IoT baby monitor attaches to a Mimo supplied onesie to provide you with information on your baby’s breathing, heart rate, specific sleeping habits and temperature. This device will also set you back around $200.
A smartphone is also essential in this process, as the information is sent directly to an app on your device in real-time. Strong internet is required for the best performance from this product, and this can depend on the placement of your router.
The fact that the information is provided via the internet means that you won’t go out of range within the home; this has traditionally been a problem with baby monitors. However, everyone knows that internet connections are not always reliable.
The Quirky Egg Minder uses LED lights to work out which eggs in the smart tray are nearest to reaching their expiry date, and also how many you have left. It is capable of holding up to 14 eggs at any one time.
Yet again, your smartphone comes into play as the important information is sent directly to it. This means that you will never again be stood in a stupor in the middle of supermarket, trying to work out whether you have eggs at home, and whether they are in date or not.
In light of the $13 price tag on the Quirky Egg Minder, this one really could be worth every penny for some avid egg users. However, you could still ask it is worth having an IoT device for this sole purpose.
L’Oreal smart hairbrush
This is one of the more unusual IoT devices that was unveiled at CES 2017 in Las Vegas, and it is exactly what it says it is, a brush able to harvest a great deal of information from brushing hair.
Believe it or not, sound is central to the data collection process for this device, and microphone is imbedded within it. The microphone is used to listen to detect breaking hair when brushing, and it will actually vibrate to warn you if you are using too much pressure.
Other sensors within the device include a accelerometer and a gyroscope, these also contribute to map brushing patterns for example, working towards benefitting your overall hair care routine.
Here it is, there is even an IoT bin, and like at the very beginning of this list, we are still telling the truth. Yet another device to burst onto the scene at CES 2017, the GeniCan can be used with a kitchen bin to keep track of what you are throwing away, so you know what you need from the shop next.
This device works by scanning things you throw away, but this is only the beginning of the process, as you can also use the device to create a shopping list based on what you are discarding, and then it can put in an order for delivery. Recycling is also taken into account by the makers of this device.
Security is also specifically focussed on for GeniCan, and the company says that the information stored using the device is kept separate from other information that could be used for identification. This is an important factor in light of the huge problems caused by IoT in terms of cybersecurity.