Internet of Silly Things moves up a notch

07 Jan 2015

Freescale Semiconductor, Inc, producer of sensors and processors, recently held a competition asking readers to submit their ideas for the dumbest things they would like made ‘smart’. Judging from the responses it’s no surprise the ‘Internet of Silly Things’ (IoST) is taking off. Who would buy some or any of these ‘things’ is a worry.

Smart shoes seemed overly popular with ideas including a modular shoe sole with multiple hardware modules in the sole that add Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and phone functions plus interchangeable flashlight and recharger. Or a shoe for sports and driving complete with insole to control phone (with Bluetooth low energy connection), vibration motor for output notifications, chip, battery and two capacitive buttons. How about a shoe with haptic feedback in the tongue to allow screen free navigation guidance? Or the smart sole with IoT capabilities to communicate a mobile phone for location tracking, range alert and other smart functions for seniors with mental impairments.

For today’s hi-tech chick we have phone/music player earrings, a dress complete with a wind-shield (presumably to protect makeup and hairdo) or an LED dress that changes colour, one with a spinal pressure analyzer that tells you when to relax your back, even a self-heating dress to reduce layers when you go out. Best of all – one with under arm device to ensure smell-free life.

Presumably all these great ideas would be part of the IoT and make use of weather services to activate functions automatically and smartphones to let you know what’s going on.

Any doubts that the world is going IoT mad would have been dispelled at this week’s geek conference - otherwise known as CES - where the IoST took center stage. The ‘smart home’ seemed to be the focus with a countless number of ways to control things in the home from a smartphone.

The usual lights and alarms were there but now with ‘bells and whistles’ added. There are lights that learn your behavior and turn on when you are expected home, or come on automatically at low brightness when you go to the loo at night. Coffee machines that are triggered into action by your wearable when you wake up and even produce different strengths depending what time of day it is.

We now have clothes dryers that interact with the Nest thermostat to compensate for the input of dryer warmth into the house and we already know about toothbrushes that will tell you if you are brushing correctly and for long enough.

Vying for the most useless IoST addition this year is a belt called ‘Belty’ that lets you know when you are getting fat and need to lose weight. It has a motorized buckle that automatically loosens and tightens the belt to fit your moving middle when you sit down. It also notices if its wearer has been sitting for too long. In that case, it vibrates. Whatever happened to moving along one more notch on your old leather belt? Anyway, who wants a belt to tell them they are becoming a fat ass?

Then there’s the baby feeding bottle that finds the optimum feeding angle and checks if the baby has had enough to drink and sends the info to your smartphone in case you are out skiing at feeding time. How did we ever manage to bring up millions of babies without this gem?

And just the thing to keep your connected refrigerator company in the kitchen we have an internet enabled gas range and electric oven. Presumably you will be able to program the gas oven from your smartphone when you need to stick your head in to escape the IoST.

Oh, and there’s another ‘must have’ gadget that tells you how high you can jump, a snow board that analyses your style and suggest improvements and electric roller skates that compensate for your poor balance and help keep you upright. Then ether’s the Ring, a rather bulky ‘ring’ that sits on your finger that can turn home appliances on and off by waving a single digit in the air. It is teamed up with the Ring Hub, that enables infrared communication, allowing people to wave their fingers around to close their curtains, turn on their televisions, or flip lights on and off. After that you will certainly need a Belty!

But probably the most useful of all IoST devices must be the KegData, the most advanced keg monitoring system available today. KegData allows users to monitor how much beer is in their kegs and how much has been consumed, from their phones, computer, or tablets. Now that’s a good idea!

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