We love the ioT, and it's from a place of love that that we have to point the finger. Because with the best will in the world, it's not all been gems has it?
We absolutely believe in the democratic power of connected living and the Internet of Things.
A car that will unlock the door and tell the cooker to put dinner on as it pulls into the drive sounds like a thoroughly Good Thing and we’re keen to get on with it.
Kids trackers, once only accessible through the criminal justice system as an alternative to being sent to jail, are now available to any overly anxious helicopter parent.
Then there’s that category of Things where the utility can be glimpsed on the horizon, although makers still need to steer a bit through the fog to avoid hitting the icebergs off the starboard bow.
An umbrella that tells you if it’s been left behind is potentially a good idea, assuming it’s not on the Tube trying to signal you through 100 foot of London concrete. Devices that tell your phone where your car keys are, sound great although the type of people who always lose their keys also always lose their phones.
Then there are the devices that are just an all round bad idea. There’s no glimpses on the horizon, just a giant waterfall that’s taking everyone down. Here’s six that hopefully speak for themselves.
Quirky Egg Minder Smart Egg Tray
“Ever been out on a brisk walk,” begins the top Amazon review, “trying to work out the stress from the day and then suddenly been hit with a wave of anxiety wondering just how many eggs are in the fridge and what condition they might possibly be in?” Those who have will be relieved to know this smart egg tray will alert any phone with this vital information, for only $50. It continues, not entirely seriously, “Our dreams of a more peaceful world are at hand”.
Vessyl smart cup + Pee & See
This is a cup that tells you how much you’ve drunk, for the low cost of $99. And then based on info related to age, weight etc, pesters the owner should they be insufficiently hydrated. We did not treat this with the scepticism it deserved when we first reported it back in November. Whatever happened to just feeling thirsty? In a similar vein is Pee & See, a depressing app that is more interested in the other end of the operation, wanting to record every visit to the loo so it can pester its owner to drink more. A bonus – yes bonus – feature is the ability to upload data to a “pee leaderboard”, in order to compete against people who are apparently friends.
Tootz the Unicorn
Currenly slaying a bunch of fourteen year olds on Indiegogo, this is a “stand alone robotic mythical beast that talks to the internet and lets you know when wonderful things happen.” Translation: it’s a unicorn that toots rainbows from its behind when you get notifications – don’t ask me to write that again. It’s the only gadget here that’s even less plausible than our own completely fictitious Wi-Fi connected smart underpants.
McAfee for Android Wear
Anti virus software is marginally better than having a virus, and that’s the gleaming future McAfee is promising to bring to wearables. Its software can now be installed (for free!) on any Android Wear wristwatch enabling owners to experience a 24/7 stream of alerts, notifications and warnings about viruses, an experience not unlike someone repeatedly jabbling you in the middle of your forehead with their index finder.
Tomatan is – obviously – a wearable backpack robot designed to feed runners tomatoes. Weighing in at 8 kilos, roughly the same as having three giant family sized containers of milk strapped to one’s back, marathon runners nonetheless are able to benefit from a constant stream of delicious tomatoes delivered by this comfortable looking contraption. The ketchup company behind it muttered something about the health benefits of tomatoes; we think they realise this is useless, unlike some of the companies above, but really, who knows anymore. Just enjoy the photo.