Less Siri, more silly: Smart Potato is ready to be your digital assistant


Smart Potato gag at CES 2020
Alexa is a dud. Talk to the spud.
Photo: BPZ Labs

CES 2020The best digital assistant may already be in your home. That is, providing you haven’t already fried or mashed it.

Put down the peeler. That potato is actually a Smart Potato according to a clever gag on display at CES in Las Vegas.

Nicolas Baldeck flew all the way from Savoie, France to show off his antenna-like device that, when inserted into the humble spud, measures potato brain waves and decodes potato language.

With a straight face and an iPhone held in close proximity, Baldeck has drawn in curious passersby by asking his potato questions.

“I just had to come to CES with my Smart Potato,” Baldeck told Cult of Mac. “Some people maybe don’t understand it’s a joke, but most of the reactions have been amazing.”

Smart Potato technology
The potato-machine interface.
Photo: BPZ Labs

The joke actually works with an iOS app that communicates with the electronics of the “neuraspud.”

In an earnest “As Seen at CES 2020” pitch video posted below, a voice sounding similar to Siri asks a potato if it thinks the Earth is flat. It responds, “Probably not.”

Baldeck may have the digital age’s version of the Pet Rock. Behind his joke is serious commentary.

“There is this trend to put Bluetooth in any object and call it innovation,” he said. “Now we can sell it for double. That doesn’t mean all (Bluetooth devices) are useless. I just want people to think about it.”

He also wants people to buy one. The Smart Potato is currently on Indiegogo.

For $29, Baldeck will send the first 1,000 buyers a neuraspud, which is described as an ultra-high bandwidth potato-machine interface developed to connect your potato with computers. “It’s power by Potat’Ohm.”

Smart Potato already has 15 backers and has a ways to go to reach $30,000 needed to fund the invention. Baldeck lists some ambitious stretch goals. For $60,000, the Smart Potato could produce weather forecasts. The potato will have its own blockchain if it raises $90,000 and for $120,000, all the potatoes will be able to communicate with one another via a mesh network.

A search for CES with Google in France puts Smart Potato near the top, Baldeck said.

Surprisingly, the Smart Potato has not grabbed many headlines in the U.S. (to the reporters covering CES for Mashable, head over to Eureka Park and look for vendor number 53367).

One French news program featured Baldeck’s creation, the on-air talent laughing throughout the report.


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