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Not-So-Smart Products

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Not-So-Smart Products
September 3, 2015
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Not-So-Smart Products

When is too much, too much?

That’s a good question to ask for just about anything, but it’s particularly meaningful when looking at smart products. There are item definitely worthy of getting the “smart” treatment: lights, locks, thermostats – I get it. They have a clear purpose and provide an obvious convenience to users.

However, there are more instances of everyday items getting Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity, or automated features. Does a toothbrush need to be connected to your smartphone?

Here are a few unconventional smart items in the market today that could eventually become household standards. Today, they seem a little unnecessary.

The Smart Toothbrush

First example is the smart toothbrush by Oral-B. It looks like a normal, battery-powered toothbrush, except that it connects to your phone via Bluetooth. It records your brushing activity and then translates that information into consumable data. The smart toothbrush tells if you’re brushing too hard or too long, and also gives you suggestions on how to improve your brushing technique.

However, a dentist can tell you the same information, in greater detail. If you’re not a fan of going to the dentist, I could see the appeal of a smart toothbrush. But these devices are pricey (around $200); that’s more than it would cost for a routine cleaning and checkup.

The Smart Cup

Next up is the smart cup by Vessyl. This device that tells you what you’re drinking and the caloric intake. The premise is simple: you choose something to drink, you pour it into your smart cup and its sensors will detect your drink.

The big problem is that most people know what they’re drinking; they don’t need a cup to tell them. While the smart cup will tell you how many calories you’re consuming, it won’t report any other nutritional information or ingredients. Meanwhile, this information is available on all bottles and packages.

The Smart Plate

Finally, let’s look at the SmartPlate; a Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enabled plate that analyzes what you place on it, including cameras to take pictures of the food and sensors to get its weight. Once it analyzes the information, it’ll transmit the data to the app, letting you know how much you’re eating, if you’re eating too much and more.

The SmartPlate isn’t very practical; it’s not dishwasher-safe, nor is it microwave-safe. You probably won’t be taking into restaurants, so you won’t be able to get reading of your food. But if you’re someone who is already mindful about what they’re eating, that’s okay. You’re already looking calories and ingredients, you won’t be needing a plate to tell you.

That’s Just the Beginning

The smart home is fast becoming a reality, but for every new smart product that seems practical and useful, there’s also a few that seem to be too much.

Regardless, each and every new product that does get announced or released at least gives us a glimpse into the future. I’m still counting down the days until I have my very own Jetsons-style home.

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Johannes Bester
September 7, 2015 at 8:43 AM
Seriously, a smart tooth brush. Cant people feel how hard they are brushing?
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