14 Bizarre and Interesting Products Made Possible By the Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) has already started to change the way consumers shop, the type of goods available and how companies do business. With its innovation, the IoT has brought a tide of creative and unconventional products, some which are more useful than others. For example, products that support people’s health and lifestyle such as wearable fitness devices can be very beneficial in that they encourage exercise and physical activity. There are however, many other devices that are part of a niche, so their purpose may be much more obscure. Here, we look at some of the wackiest connections in the Internet of Things space, along with some interesting and valuable concepts.
1. Amazon’s Dash Buttons
The Amazon Dash Button is Wi-Fi connected device that can reorder certain products just by clicking a button. You set it up near or on the applicable product (laundry detergent box, sanitary napkin cabinet, or dog food bag) and press the button to reorder when you notice supplies are low. It can be programmed to order the amounts and type of product that you need by scanning with the included barcode scanner. Dash Buttons are sold by brand.
2. Smart egg tray
The smart egg tray helps you monitor the number of eggs you have left in the fridge. You can check on your egg supply through a mobile app, and if you happen to be at the store, pick up some more if you are running low, so that you avoid running out. The same concept can be extended to other items in your fridge or pantry.
3. Dog treats by video chat
If you travel extensively or leave your dog alone at home during the day, the iCPooch is an interactive dog-care device that lets you two-way video chat your dog. You can also use the device to dispense dog treats. The device is controlled through the app, which also facilitates the chat feature. Interestingly, iCPooch was invented by a 14-year-old girl who was looking for a way to give her dog attention while the family was out of the house, and the concept was then launched through a successful Kickstarter campaign.
4. Doggie door
Another interesting pet-care IoT device is the smart doggie door, which alerts you via phone when your dog is waiting outside. The included camera lets you check who’s at the doggie door and through the app you can let your dog in. Other variations provide automatic access to pets wearing linked collars.
5. Bin Camera
Researchers invented the BinCam to study how recycling habits were impacted by the presence of cameras in trash cans. The BinCam was not only connected to the Internet; it automatically took a photo each time the bin was used and posted the photos to Facebook to help researchers understand how others’ perceptions impacted recycling habits.
6. Smart belt
One of the more bizarre inventions to arise from the IoT phenomenon has been the Belty smart belt. The idea behind Belty is that while some people might be content with loosening their own belt after a big meal, others would probably prefer a smart belt did that for them.
The Belty belt is designed to automatically loosen your belt when you have had too much to eat, and it uses an actuator to determine your preferred level of comfort. Belty is also an activity tracker, and it includes features such as inactivity monitoring, waistline trend analysis, and a pedometer.
7. Smart water bottle
For those who believe they might need more help with their water consumption, there’s the HidrateMe smart water bottle. This device not only tracks your water intake and syncs your data to your phone; it helps you along with a hydration equation that tells you how much water to drink.
8. Smart jar
The Neo smart jar is an IoT device that is sure to appeal to the health conscious. The smart jar can provide real time nutrition information, give freshness alerts, provide you with recipes and shop for you. Most importantly, the jar uses real-time measurements derived from your consumption of the jar’s contents. The smart jar takes this data and uses it to track nutritional indicators to support you in your health goals. Complete with an app, this smart jar had its origins in a successful Kickstarter campaign.
9. University bathrooms
For students living in campus doors competing for shared bathrooms, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has found the solutions. The US university, which is well regarded for its science and engineering research, has linked the bathrooms of one of its dorms. The bathroom server provides an online resource to students so they know which bathrooms are occupied and which are not. Laundry facilities have also been added to the program.
10. Smart cups
Smart cups have also been created, and one of these, named Vessyl, is smart enough to let drinkers know what liquid is in the cup. While most people probably would not have a use for the smart cup, it could be useful for people with visual impairments.
11. Smart menstrual cups
This internal wearable device helps women track their menstrual flow. You can monitor the information on the included app and quickly work out when your cup needs to be emptied. This practical yet bizarre-sounding invention is known as the Loon Cup.
12. Smart pepper spray
For the security conscious, the Defender Pepper Spray goes a step further than just providing you with a tool for disarming attackers. The device is fitted with a camera and Bluetooth, allowing you to take a photo and send it to the police to request help.
The Dontflush.me project aims to install sensors throughout New York City’s sewer system to monitor sewerage levels and prevent overflows. This project is much needed since New York City does have a raw sewerage problem and around 20 billion gallons of untreated sewage flows into the city’s harbour every year due to overflow.
14. Healthcare devices
Healthcare devices are among the most interesting and useful products that have evolved with the IoT. These range from trackers and wearables like Fitbit and Jawbone to industry and clinical applications including patient monitoring devices and home-based devices that send information to the nursing or hospital staff. These might include connected glucometers, scales, heart rate, and blood pressure monitors, or even ultrasound monitoring devices.