9 unlikely objects that are smarter by the second | Cult of Mac

9 unlikely objects that are smarter by the second


I remember when this was the weirdest thing I'd ever heard of.
Photo: Philips

Apparently, it isn’t enough that our phones, appliances, TVs, thermostats and light bulbs are getting Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections so we can control them remotely and teach them our habits. No — some enterprising souls are looking at their stuff and just gasping at how dumb all of it is.

And so, things that we may never have thought of slapping the “smart” prefix on are getting all wired up and clever. Here are a few of the more interesting ones.

Water dispensers

According to one of the developers of the Orka smart water bottle, you’re already dehydrated by the time your body tells you it’s thirsty, at which point your productivity is already suffering, and then probably nobody will think you’re attractive or charming. So the Orka reminds you to drink and tracks your water consumption to ensure that your body has enough go-juice to operate. The video even shows a soccer coach using an iPad app to track the hydration levels of an entire soccer team. So damn it, Britney, get off the field and take a drink, or you’ll never make that penalty kick.

That’s not the only one, either. The HidrateMe bottle lets you set drinking goals (presumably just for water) and glows to remind you to take drinks. It raised $627,000 on crowdfunding site Kickstarter to make this happen.

Trago isn’t so much a bottle as it is just the cap. But it comes with a bottle; don’t even worry about that. It will build you a “personal hydration profile” based on your age, gender, and activity level and then help you set and meet goals based on your data.

And why should humans have all of the hydration-based fun? Pura, a smart fountain for cats, will keep an eye on your feline friend’s hydration levels in hopes of preventing urinary issues. The connected app works with a tag on your kitty’s collar so that you can track each pet’s consumption individually. Kind of like that soccer team from earlier, but with cuter action shots.

Pura cat fountain
This kitty loves water so much.
Photo: Liwei Wu


I can kind of see where this group is coming from; I often yell at my luggage for being so stupid, but that’s usually when I’m trying to put too much stuff into it.

Still, the idea of smart luggage makes sense. People spend most, if not all of their travel time with their bag to the point that most airports have little shelves above the urinals in the bathroom. Why not make it a vaguely self-aware hub?

That’s what the makers of the Bluesmart connected carry-on wanted, and over 10,000 people gave them a collective $2 million in crowdfunding to do it. The Bluesmart has a built-in scale, a battery charger, and proximity notifications in case you’re in danger of leaving your $450 future-bag behind.

The Rolopower carry-on didn’t make its goal, but it had a pretty cool idea: The wheels had little dynamos in them that would generate electricity to charge your phone while you pull the thing around. And the connected app would read your walking distance and tell you how far you were from a full charge.

Sex toys

We all knew this was coming (so to speak).

Every time humankind makes a leap in technology, it’s only a matter of time before people start trying to figure out how to get their bits and bobs involved. And so it has gone with connected devices.

Vibease advertises itself as “the world’s first wearable smart vibrator,” and I’m in no position to either confirm or deny that claim. It’s the same with their assertion that the product “fits in any panties,” so don’t even ask.

Here’s what it does: When its owner is ready to use it, they put on some headphones (hopefully) and tune in to a literary aid through the app on their smartphone. The Vibease syncs up with the recording in ways that I’m sure you can imagine. But it doesn’t have to be a solo show if you don’t want. Partners can use the connected app to send “custom vibrations” from anywhere they can get some bars.

On the man side, Lovely is shaped like a giant guitar pick with a hole in it. And guess what goes into the hole? That’s right: A penis goes into the hole.

Lovely sex toy stretch
That’s Lovely.
Photo: Lovely, Inc.

The associated app tells users how many calories they burned while using Lovely and offers some suggestions for next time.

Pretty much anything else you can think of

The rest of the smart devices we found didn’t really fit into any of these categories; they’re just so seemingly random. But you can kind of see the point once you think about them. I think.

Anyway, let’s Lightning Round the rest of these.

The Neo Smart Jar keeps track of its own contents and can even order more for you when you run low via “Zero Touch Shopping.” It can recalculate recipes for you on the fly and help you track your caloric and nutritional needs.

Dokdo Tank is a smart, “all-in-one” aquarium that monitors its own temperature and pH levels and also lets you adjust the lighting to make your fish feel at home. Looks like these clownfish enjoyed it well enough.

Hush earplugs say they are “the world’s first smart earplugs,” and I have no choice but to believe them. They block out all of the annoying outside noise like you’d expect, but they also connect to your phone so that it can pipe your morning alarm and alerts directly into your earholes. This way, you don’t risk annoying the people who were keeping you from sleeping in the first place, thus securing yourself the moral high ground that is so important in this fast-paced world we’re living in.

Quitbit is a smart lighter designed to help you stop smoking. It does this by keeping track of how many cigarettes you’ve had today and how long you’re going between smoke breaks. It’s a pretty cool idea, really. Kind of like the Activity app on your Apple Watch but in reverse.

If you live in a rainy climate and need a high-tech umbrella to deal with it, Haz will get you taken care of. The Haz smart umbrella is currently seeking production funding; it opens and closes automatically, and its app offers location tracking so that you don’t lose your shelter from the storm. It’ll even tell you when it’s going to rain so you don’t end up looking like The Penguin. Although he also had some pretty fancy umbrellas, now that I think about it. So maybe you’ll always end up looking like The Penguin.

This last one is a grill. Specifically, the Bright Grill connected smart grill appliance by Robert Mora, if you want to be proper about it. What does it do? It’s an electric grill that you can turn on and off with your phone and also set timers and find recipes. And if you miss the timer, it will automatically reduce the heat or shut off for safety.

Bright Grill safety
You need never let dinner preparation get in the way of your awkwardly pretending to play video games again.
Photo: Robert Mora


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