By Megan Bozman
1. Connected Trampoline
I had a post brewing about unusual IoT use cases when Mashable tweeted this gem, “There's a smart trampoline, because all your toys must come online.”
I’m a parent of two elementary-school age children and I recognize the importance of minimizing ‘screen time.’ It isn’t that video games and TV are inherently damaging, but rather screen time comes at the expense of other activities that are so beneficial and necessary for children’s health and growth: being outdoors, physically active, using imagination, and interacting with friends.
I was all prepared to gripe and moan, or as the Australian creators of this toy would say, “whinge” about it … then I read the article.
I also happen to be a group fitness instructor and I think the use of technology to encourage fun physical activity is a fantastic thing. Something my children are well aware of and use as a justification for playing games with the X-Box “Kinect,” many of which are indeed a great workout.
OK, so we’ll classify this one as unusual, not terrible. Point Tgoma Software.
2. Smart Diaper
Connected diapers are an IoT use case that, while unusual, are definitely helpful. “Sensassure has developed “Talli,” a reusable strip that attaches to the outside of standard commercial diapers or adult briefs and communicates when the incontinence product becomes wet.” This enables changes as needed, reducing the risk of time spent in wet diapers, as well as the removal of clothing to check when a change is not warranted.
3. Dog Pedometer
Pedometers for pets are apparently a lucrative business, since at least four exist already. “Activity monitors designed for dogs use different algorithms to analyze the motion data and produce pet-specific activity data.” While I never pondered whether a pedometer made for humans would function properly on a dog, I do have to admit that’s an interesting adaptation of existing technology.
What most surprised me is that these products are already on the market: not a Kickstarter among them. And the Amazon reviews are all legit; no satire to be found.
4. Egg Container
The Egg Minder, however, delivered on my expectations for comical reviews. The holder contains up to 14 eggs, and syncs with your smartphone to tell you how many eggs you've got at home and when they're going bad.
I love coffee and occasionally drink hot tea, although I’ve always successfully managed to test the temp in a tech-free manner. “Alert me when my caramel macchiato is cool enough to drink,” did not even strike me as a ‘first world problem’ that required solving.
However, the functionality of Muggino extends far beyond that. While waiting for hot beverages to reach a drinkable temperature, almost one-third of the energy used to heat those beverages is lost. Every day four billion cups of hot drinks are consumed worldwide. If captured, that energy could be used to provide electricity to six million people. The Muggino smart mug stores that energy in a built in battery, and includes a retractable cable to charge smart phones. Muggino can also regulate cold drinks.
Unfortunately, it seems as though the Kickstarter campaign has closed without success. All the news, including the YouTube video and latest tweets, are from 2015.
6. Pillow Talk
Pillow Talk defies categorization. It connects you to your partner's heartbeat, so you can feel their pulse even when apart. The phrase “co-dependent” ran through my mind.
The product consists of a wristband that picks up your heartbeat and sends it, in real time, to your loved one. Also included is a small speaker you place under your pillow to play your loved one’s heartbeat.
7. Flower Power
This small device, which resembles a Y-shaped branch, monitors sunlight, air temperature, fertilizer level, and soil moisture. After setting the type of plant being monitoring, the device sends alerts to your mobile phone when parameters exceed pre-established thresholds. Currently selling on Amazon for $51.56, it seems rather impractical to invest in a device to remind you to water your plants if you have numerous potted plants both inside and around your home.
Brilliant or Baffling IoT?
As the cost of sensors decline, the race continues to “Connect Everything,” as is our slogan at Senseware. Often connections improve our lives, through saving money, time, or just giving us a chuckle. Do you think these IoT use cases are brilliant or baffling? Do you have any other unusual IoT use cases we should list? Tweet at us, @MySenseware.