The Internet of Silly Things knows no bounds

04 Dec 2014

As featured on the DisruptiveViews blog

Since writing about the Internet of Silly Things I have been inundated with apps and devices that have me wondering where it will all end. It also makes me wonder how I have survived so long without the help of these incredibly brilliant and equally useless tools that are supposed to make my life better and help me live longer.

In the rush to capitalize on the connected world and the miniaturization of collecting and transmitting devices we are set to become a species of brainless app users unable to exist without our every body function being monitored and all our appliances talking to us.

Here are just a few examples of technologies (with thanks to cbronline) that are set to disrupt us – if we choose to let them.

The Beddit Sleep Tracker is an ultra-thin force sensor that lies under your sheets. It measures your nighttime activity based on ballistocardiography (BCG). The sensitive force sensor in Beddit tracks small vibrations caused by your heartbeat, breathing and movements. Beddit utilizes both the force sensor and the microphone of your mobile device to recognize your own snoring from your partner’s snoring. In the morning, the Beddit app tells you how you slept and tells you how to sleep better. Wow! I’m not sure how it copes with other bedtime activities one might indulge in (maybe it could rate performance from 1 to 10), pets that curl up with you at night or children that invade your space from time to time.

Samsung’s Smart Home service puts people in control of their devices and home appliances with one application that connects them all to a smartphone or wearable device like the Galaxy Gear. You can now manage home devices from washing machines to light bulbs to air conditioners, whether you’re at home or away on the road using voice commands – for instance just say “Going Out” to your Galaxy Gear and you can turn off the TV and the lights. How did possibly we survive so long without this gem?

Not to be outdone, LG has unveiled a HomeChat system that allows users to send text messages to appliances and then get responses. Imagine being able to text “what are you up to?” to a washing machine for example, and get a reply such as: “I’m just finishing the spin cycle, I won’t be long.” Users could also tell a washing machine to start a load of laundry or a robotic vacuum cleaner to clean up before they get home, while fridges could tell owners how much food or drink it has left. Hmmm!

Kolibree’s electric toothbrush keeps track of brushing habits and techniques by analyzing the movements and the length of brushing with monitoring and scoring scales. It sends data to your smartphone with notes on whether you brushed long enough and reached the important parts of your teeth and gums. It can also be configured to track the brushing data of family and friends if that’s your thing!

Pets, too, will surely benefit from Whistle, is a wireless based sensor device attached to a dog’s collar that collects data depending on a dog’s age, breed and weight during the day. Linking to an iOS device will reveal how much and how quickly the dog has moved around by tracking the dog’s exact location using GPS, an accelerometer and cellular wireless technology. What ever happened to walking the dog?

Mother speaks to sensors called Cookies that you can stick to any items in your house via a Wi-Fi network. These magical devices connected to fridge door will tell you how many times it was opened. Connected to a water bottle it will remind you to drink more. Connected to your mattress it will wake you at ‘the perfect time’ (whatever that is). Connected to a wall it will warn you if the room gets cold (presumably in case you have no sense whatsoever).

And how have tennis players survived without Pure Drive, a racquet with embedded sensors, gyroscopes and accelerometers on the handle, which count and measure strokes, ball speed and where the ball hits the strings?

Perhaps the king of really stupid IoT things is BitBite, an in-ear device that helps track and improve eating habits by analyzing the sounds and patterns of your chewing, among other things. Among the data the associated app displays is chewing quality, bite count and calories consumed. It also acts as a coach by offering tips on improving your eating habits and calorie intake. I kid you not!

I assume it won’t be long before we have associated device that measure not only what goes in but what comes out as well. Perhaps this will analyze the quality and quantity of the output and guide us to better eating and drinking habits. I can’t wait!

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