By Matthew Reynolds.
From connected rectal thermometers to smart toasters – here are five gadgets you neither need nor want.
With the release of a ‘smart hairbrush’ that rates your grooming habits and LG’s threat that every product it releases this year will be Wi-Fi enabled, it’s looking like 2017 will be the year the internet of things went too far.
But wait. We’re already living in a creepy dystopian future where our every device is peppering us with messages and plotting the demise of the human race. From smart toasters to connected rectal thermometers – nothing is safe from the march of the internet of things. Here’s our roundup of some of the strangest connected devices out there.
Prepare for the onslaught of AI bins
Throwing things in the bin is a challenge. Is your waste decomposing at the right rate? Is the your bin air pure enough? Imagine your embarrassment if your mum came round for tea and you weren’t using the right colour bin bags. It doesn’t bear thinking about.
Fortunately Qube – a ‘smart’ trash can – has got your back. No longer will you have to arrange with a neighbour to come pop round your flat while you’re on holiday and check on your bin, with the Qube app you can keep tabs on your waste from anywhere in the world!
With a built-in screen (yay! I love touching my bin!) and thermometer, your friendly waste companion will let you know when it’s time to take out the trash. Or, you could just take a look inside the actual bin like people have been doing since the dawn of time.
This, from the Qube’s Kickstarter page, is the creepiest thing about the bin: “Alerts can also be set to warn the user if temperatures rise drastically or if it does not detect any movement during a user-defined time period, as well as much more.”
Why does the bin need to know if I’m not around? Presumably to mobilise its creepy robotic army of IoT home devices, steal my identity and turf me out of my own home. No. Thank. You.
Text your friends with this smart toaster
Crowdfunding sites are basically the primordial ooze from whence bizarre connected devices spring. No surprise, then, that you can find this “app-controlled smart image toaster” on Indiegogo. More surprising is that 1,997 people parted with their real cash money to get a slice of this vision of chatty breakfast hell.
With Toasteroid, you can print any design onto a slice of toast – or, and this is the good bit, you can send toast messages (or ‘toastages’) to your weird friends who also have the same device device as you.
“Take a look at Tom,” the advert says. “We can toast the latest weather forecast and other useful information anywhere in the world.” Tom looks absolutely chuffed to receive a slice of bread telling him it’s a toasty 81 degrees outside. No, Tom. That is not the appropriate response to some anonymous person sending you a weather report through your toaster.
But why stop at weather reports? Why not send toastage utility bills, blackmail attempts or, lighten the impact of some bad news by printing it on a slice of toast? Try keeping a smile on your face when you receive a slice of Hovis with “ur cat’s dead” printed on it, Tom.
Share your rectal temperature with the world
Most things don’t need to be made into smart devices, but a few things really, really do not need a smart upgrade.
In the same way that ‘mashed up chicken with arsenic in it’ is also ‘more than just chicken’
“Place the thermometer according to your desired reading location,” say the instructions for the Kinsa Smart Thermometer. To me, the phrase ‘desired reading location’ conjures up the image of a cosy library chair or a hammock. Not, alas, the rectum.
Once you’ve taken your temperature with the Smart Thermometer, the reading is automatically added to a personalised history on the accompanying app. Perfect for sharing and comparing with friends over a nice meal out.
Never lose track of your eggs again
Do you ever wonder what your eggs get up to when the fridge door is closed? With the Quirky Egg Minder Wink App Enabled Smart Egg Tray (phew) you never have to worry about that again.
This egg tray syncs with your smartphone to tell you how many eggs you’ve got at home, because actually opening the fridge and taking a peak would be way too 2016. Judging by the number of one-star reviews on Amazon for this device, it appears that the egg-buying public are also not yet convinced about the merits of connected egg trays.
Give your mirror a smart upgrade
Normal mirrors are just so dumb. Sure, they’re all shiny and stuff, but what do they really show us other than a sad reflection of the mundanity of our existence?
Luckily, mirrors are about to get the smart treatment in 2017, too. The Griffin Connected Mirror displays time, weather and
‘status messages’ as well as your own reflection! Why pay less for a conventional mirror, when you can pay $1,000 for a mirror with tweets on it?
The Griffin Connected Mirror does reinforce one thing we’ve learned about connected devices, however. If the internet of things is about one thing, it’s about receiving weather reports from every conceivable device inside and outside of your home. It’s only a matter of time before I pop in the loo and my smart toilet paper is arguing with my connected bath mat about the fog situation in Berkhamsted.