From an egg tray that will remind you to get eggs, to a suitcase that doubles up as a mini-scooter, here are six unusual smart devices you probably didn’t know existed.
Technology and innovation have come a long way. Today, thanks to the Internet of Things, more and more devices are becoming ‘smart.’
Many smart gadgets that were once a figment of the imagination and a part of movies like Spy Kids or Men in Black are now a reality. As innovation meets convenience, many of these smart gadgets are transforming our lives every step of the way.
From an Amazon Echo or Google Home that switches on the lights in your room, to a coffee machine that automatically brews the perfect cuppa, these smart devices have clearly made our lives easier.
However, there are also many bizarre devices that have entered the market which you’d have never imagined you needed (and probably don’t). Here are six such smart devices you probably didn’t know existed.
1. The Hushme voice mask for smartphones
Have you ever been in a situation where you had to pick up a call in public and had people overhear an embarrassing conversation? Not to worry, Hushme has you covered – quite literally..
Hushme is a personal acoustic device which connects to your phone and covers your mouth, preventing people near you from seeing or hearing what you are saying. The device can be used in two modes: a normal headset mode, and a passive voice muffing mode.
In normal headset mode, users can connect Hushme to their smartphones using Bluetooth and then use it like a normal handsfree audio device while taking a call or listening to music.
The passive voice muffling mode is what sets Hushme apart. In this mode, the device locks over the user’s mouth. With the help of insulation materials built into the mouthpiece, it can prevent people at a distance of three feet from hearing what the user is saying. The device can reportedly also play distracting noises out loud to lock down the privacy of the conversation even further.
Due to a built-in microphone, the person at the other end of the call should be able to hear clearly.
But of course, if you don’t want to spend US$229 and look like a Star Wars Stormtrooper or Bane in the process, you could always just whisper.
2. The Quirky Egg Minder
Though the name seems to imply that this product may be a timer of some sort for cooking eggs, the Quirky Egg Minder is actually designed to tell users whether they need to buy eggs when out doing groceries, and if so, how many.
Quirky’s smart tray can hold up to 14 eggs, and can sync with a smartphone through the Wink app. Once paired with a device, the app will send notifications when the user is close to running out of eggs.
Additionally, each egg cup has a sensor and an LED, which serve to keep a track on the expiration date of each individual egg based on the date they were placed in the tray and the user’s preferred freshness period. The light on the oldest egg will turn blue to indicate that it should be used first. When that egg is used up, the light on the next oldest egg will turn blue, and so on.
Although it attempts to solve an almost non-existent problem, the device is priced at a reasonable US$14.99. However, user reviews say that tray often doesn’t report the correct egg count. CNET, for instance, said, “The app is glitchy and often inaccurate. In addition, the expiration date is determined by the user, which leaves a lot of room for error.” In short, there’s clearly still much to be said for just opening the fridge to check how many eggs you have left.
3. Furbo dog camera
While connected home cameras for monitoring pets are nothing new, Furbo Dog Camera adds a new dimension to pet-ownership with its ability to shoot out dog treats with the help of a smartphone. At the tap of a button on the Android or iOS Furbo app, Furbo will launch the treat, which is stored in an airtight compartment at the top of the device, across the room.
That’s not all. The Furbo Dog Camera has a slew of other features, including two-way audio and a real-time smart alerts feature that sends notifications when the dog barks, when there is an intruder, or for any other dog-related event.
Additionally, it has a cloud-recording feature that can record 15-second video clips of the dog, which can be shared directly to social media. It can even detect when the dog is facing the camera to capture a selfie. In short, Furbo is fully equipped to capture the secret life of a dog when its owner is away.
Intended for pet parents who are frequently away from home, Furbo is available for US$249. However, other than the barking alert, camera, audio, and toss-treats features, the rest of the features require a paid subscription, which costs US$9.99 per month.
4. Bzigo the smart camera
Companies can’t seem to get enough of coming up with innovative ways to peep into our homes. From security cameras to catch intruders to baby or dog monitors, smart cameras have a plethora of uses. Well, meet Bzigo, a camera with computer vision to help users catch… mosquitoes.
Bzigo can be kept anywhere in the house and claims to be better than a bug zapper, insect repellent, or mosquito net. The product debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) last year and is expected to hit the markets early this year at a price of US$169 plus shipping.
“Killing [mosquitoes] is the easy part – the real challenge is in detecting them,” the makers of Bzigo said.
Bzigo makes things easier by scanning the house using an infrared camera, unique optics, and an artificial intelligence system, and can follow the flight of a mosquito up to eight meters away. Once discovered, it marks them with a laser (which is not harmful) and then sends a notification the smartphone app. That’s all Bzigo does. The actual killing is left to the user.
5. Modobag: smart, motorized luggage
We’ve all probably been in a situation where we had to huff and puff our way through the airport to not miss a flight. The solution, according to the makers of Modobag, is to get yourself a suitcase that can carry you instead.
You read it right. Reminscent of that one Grand Tour episode where Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammon race through an airport, Modobag claims to be “the world’s first motorized, smart and connected carry-on,” promising to go three times faster than walking. Flip it on its side and it transforms into a mini-scooter. On a single charge, the bag can travel up to six miles, and comes with dual USB charging ports to charge your electronic devices.
Additionally, it has a touch control dashboard with LED backlighting for the user’s convenience while riding. It has an optional connected feature, using which users can connect to an Android or iOS app equipped with GPRS and GSM technology to track the bag’s location. The app also sends users “proximity alerts.”
However, the 20 lbs bag can only accommodate riders weighing up to 260 lbs. Furthermore, US$1,495 seems like a hefty price to pay for a single piece of luggage. Will you look ridiculous while riding it? Probably. Do you need it? Well…
6. Clickstick smart deodorant
By now, if you think you have seen it all, you’re wrong. One would think that deodorant is the last thing that needs to be “smart.” All it really has to do is, well, dispense deodorant. But the creators of Clickstick had other thoughts.
Clickstick is a ‘smart deodorant’ which dispenses a precise amount of deodorant every time it’s used. Applying the right amount, apparently, is a daunting task for some.
But jokes aside, the founders say that Clickstick is the world’s first smart and eco-friendly deodorant that aims to reduce plastic waste generated by deodorants. Since it’s a refillable deodorant, customers can buy eco-friendly refills every time it runs out. Additionally, the one-hand applicator was also designed to make usage easier for individuals with mobility issues.
Like any other smart device, Clickstick comes with its own mobile app, which recommends the right amount of deodorant based on the user’s personal habits, reminds users to apply the deodorant, tracks usage, and lets users know when they need a refill. It also comes with an LED light, in case for any reason, the user needs to apply some deodorant in the middle of the night. (When camping, perhaps?)
Technology has clearly crept into even the most mundane of all devices. Today, things we never imagined being connected to the Internet have become smarter, whether they needed to or not. One can only guess what the future holds.
Header image courtesy of Modobag