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Coffee machines with IPs and other ridiculous things the IoT proposes
What is the future of IoT?

 

Lately, I think anyone with a minimum interest in technology and computing has heard about the IoT. It's that dying fad that has been reborn from its millennial ashes and that has become, to a certain extent, something we're already living with. 3 or 4G internet connected cars, wi-fi synched domotics, and many more technological adaptations that are aimed at making our lives one giant connection, all thanks to that wonderful concept we call INTERNET.

 

Yes, technology  has recently come along way and the revival of the IoT was just something waiting to happen somewhere along that evolutionary process.

 

The idea of it has been lingering around since the mid-twentieth century sci-fi novel days, when the concept of internet and interconnected society was still something to be speculated about, and mainly a theme of relative fantasy. Well, the day has come, and we're here today to discuss some of the most ridiculous, impractical, or in general useless things the IoT is posing for current and future projects. I mean, what good is an internet connected coffee machine that you can set to make you warm coffee with an app on your smartphone, if you can't really piece the rest of your day together. Seems pretty useless to me.

 

As we travel further down into a spiral of "smart" objects, we have the chance to become useless ourselves. I mean, come on, if you need your frying pans, deodorant sticks, or coffee mug to be connected, allow you to chat, or give you recipes, there's not much I can do for you. We've gone from 0-60 in a heartbeat, and where before there wasn't near 10% as many senseless products for everyday life, now we're willing to put an IP on our cats. Forget monitoring with things like Nagios, Pandora FMS or anything company-related, the IoT aims to monitor the temperature your steak is cooking at and how many calories it means for your dieting plan, while you chill and netflix. Dude, what? I get the sudden impression that IoT is mainly aimed to solving your first world problems when it could be focused on things that are a tad bit more important, like creating interconnected objects that actually help people and society as a whole (not that it isn't doing this, but that's a smaller line of development, and that's what makes it offensive).

Let's cut straight to our countdown. Please take this lightheartedly if you're a person that is already so deep into the use of IoT that you actually see a practicality out of everything internet-connected. If you're still going to hate, leave it in the comments, I'll be sure to read it.

 

SMART KITCHENWEAR

 

Nothing is easier to roast than the IoT applied to senseless kitchenwear. Imagine your any person over 50 that never got to know the wonders of a

temperature monitored frying pan, or a tea kettle that warns you constantly when your tea or coffee is done. Jeez, that must of been exasperating.

Although, do you stop to wonder why food back then tasted better or different? Because it was done with heart and a pinch of possible human error. We were not meant to be perfect, our lives weren't either. So why make it so that those small, enjoyable things in life like cooking are machined to near perfection? This touches a personal nerve. Personally I really enjoy cooking. Taking the time and mistakes to create something that you not only need, but that when well made is personally satisfying, is something that is rewarding psychologically and that I recommend everyone to try. Easy cooking has replaced fast food, but only because it's just as fast and yet gives you a false sense of satisfaction that you made it yourself. Your wrong. Nothing will compare to the sense of traditional cooking in my opinion, and whilst some mechanical or electronic aid to the process are welcome, the items shown below blow it out of proportion and into ridiculousness.

 

http://quench.me/food/5-ridiculous-iot-gadgets-for-the-kitchen/

 

BE SPORTS SMART

 

Nutrition and fitness tracking have been around for a while, and have remained a titan of the "smart" mentality and business. As always, the information compiled from most of these services has connection to social feeds and allows for targeted marketing to be performed, but that's another issue. At first, it was actually quite the practical thing for all those people that liked to jog or eat healthy, allowing you to track and remember your health landmarks. But now it's just getting out of hand. Things like smart waterbottles, sportswear, shoes, watches, bracelets are just part of a long list of software dependent items to make sure you can watch yourself being a hamster in a wheel.

Here is a top 3 of the most useless health and fitness related smart items:

 

HIDRATE: (ONE OF THE MANY) SMART WATER BOTTLES

 

Yes people, this exists. Imagine, you're jogging, and forget to drink water! Wow, either you jogged for a short time, or there's something wrong with your thirst response (I think this was your central nervous system?) and you should see a doctor just in case. But yep, they made a smart water bottle instead, one of many products of this sort, that synchs to an app on your phone that alerts you "Hey, aren't you feeling a bit dehydrated?".

Definitely a worthy candidate on this list.

https://ksr-video.imgix.net/projects/1845469/video-543231-h264_high.mp4

 

THE LIFEBEAM SMART HELMET

 

We all know how useful it can be to remotely monitor your vitals while bike trekking. I mean, if you suddenly have an arrythmia, you don't notice, right? What about hyperventilating? Maybe should've been more conscious before you decided to try a 30 mile forest cycle without having ever trained on a regular basis before. Well that's why we have LifeBEAM. If it worked for jet pilots, why not for cyclists.

There's just no excuse for this, helmets with fragile technology: quite useful indeed. Especially since there's other, let's say, more practical devices that perform exactly the same feats.

 

 

 

HEXOSKIN SMARTWEAR

 

Okay, this one maybe isn't that silly, but I think it shouldn't be meant for consumer use, I mean, unless you're into dropping a big buck for yet another vital sign monitoring device. These guys actually did a little bit better, the clothes look decent enough and do exactly what you'd expect from a vital sign/fitness/sleep monitoring item with software. I think if they continue to travel the route of offering their product to athletes, astronauts and certain medical patients, they'll be exploring a much more decent route than that of crowdfunding and open market. Right now the public is saturated with general health monitoring items and software, if you want people to take you seriously, take yourself seriously first.

 

 

 

GENERAL LAUGHINGSTOCK

 

In this last part we'll review some really honorable mentions to the ridiculous side of the IoT, and hope that now whenever you see an item like this, you reconsider where mankind is headed, and laugh.

 

BLACKSOCKS: SMARTER SOCKS

 

And just when I thought I wouldn't live to see the day when I'd need an app to tell me about my sock pairs. This thing looks like a parody of itself,

or some sort of racist pun, but no, it's real. They really do try to do this as something serious, but it ends up being another ingenious corporate

backfire.

 

 

VESSYL: BECAUSE, WHAT THE HELL DID I JUST DRINK?

 

Oh, these guys just like. Wow. What to say? I really need to know about everything I drink along the day. I wonder if this will tell me when to quit drinking beer before I get into hangover risk treshold. That would be a brilliant feature. In the meanwhile, I think we're going to have to live with probably one of the "hippest" IoT products to date. The commercial for this thing screams "Hey, you're not ready for the urban life if you don't have one of these ridiculous yet smart cups!". Cute.

 

 

SMART MOOD CONTROL

 

I think this should be borderline illegal, especially considering they can't even explain their product correctly. I really dislike the concept of having something feeding "calming" or "energizing" waves into my brain, thank you Dr. Strange.

 

 

 

SPIRE: REMEMBER, BREATHE

 

The concept is OK for this one, but really, do you need your phone to remind you to take a deep breath because you seem agitated? "No Siri, I won't chill" *breaks phone*. Let's be honest, when you're running around your daily stressful life, the last thing you need to relieve that stress is your phone telling you to cool down and breathe. If you're stressed enough, chances are you'll hurl the phone straight at someone's face, act that you may have avoided if your phone hadn't triggered yet another useless alarm.

 

 

YOUR YOGA ROUTINE, GETTING SMART

 

We all yearned for the day when there would be a yoga mat that could be dubbed as smart. Well here it is. This thing guides you with a speaker through your yoga routine, because using memory is for suckers.

 

 

 

I could go on with this list, but I fear the mental scars from all the senseless items available would be too deep. As a summary for my take on these types of senseles IoT proposals can all be summarized into one simple video parody:

 

 

Cheers and take care, I'm going to go talk with my therapist to get over this sense of inminent global damnation.

 

About Aleister Foaley
Computer Science and Engineering at MIT. I love teaching and forum reading.



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