Smart home technology has been moving quickly from cutting-edge technology to mainstream use. These devices are high-tech, but the basics apply to most all of the technology Most smart homes utilize sensors to detect and process information about your home and its needs in order to deliver a customized output of whatever service they provide.
Some of these services are weirder than others.
As the tech industry continues to experiment and push the boundaries of what’s possible (and what we even want), more and more tech devices are showing up in our homes and influencing the ways we interact with the world.
For instance, virtual reality has changed gaming as well as making inroads in health care and sports. Smart speakers are shaping how the children growing up with them learn and interact with people and objects. Lab-grown meat is on the way.
Nowhere is this shift more evident than in smart homes. As you may know, most smart homes utilize sensors to detect and process information about your home and its needs in order to deliver a customized output of whatever service they provide. Some are helpful, like leak detectors that help you avoid expensive water damage or energy monitors that help you reduce your monthly bill. But some of these services are weirder than others.
Check out some of the ways you can, if you dare, employ smart home tech to do things for you.
And is it any surprise that a lot of these are for the bathroom?
A smart toilet combines features of several different low-tech products in one. It will include a motion sensor to raise and lower the seat automatically. It’s self-cleaning. It may offer a bidet-style experience complete with a dry-off setting. The seat will heat up. Many offer a night light. And there’s potential for more: the scientific study of your pee to evaluate your overall health. How you feel about this is probably an indicator of just how much privacy you want to maintain. A smart toilet that wipes for you has yet to debut, but that seems like the obvious next step.
Toilet Paper Robots
At CES 2020, Charmin debuted a toilet paper robot that will make sure you never find yourself stuck on the toilet with an empty roll again. The RollBot will, upon your direction from your smart device, go to the linen closet for you to retrieve a fresh roll. If that’s a little too much for you, there are smart toilet paper holders that will simply notify you on your phone and then passive-aggressively blink red when the roll needs to be replaced.
Did hair-brushing need to be smartened up? After all, we don’t go to medical professionals for our hair the way we do for our teeth. But the smart hairbrush has arrived. The connected hairbrush will analyze your hair—thick or thin, dry, or hydrated?—and give you advice on better hair care routines. A smart hairbrush can also monitor your brushing patterns and tell you how to improve them.
Moving on to the bedroom, there’s more than one option for a smarter bed. A smart mattress uses a variety of sensors to track how you’re sleeping—including respiration, heartbeat, sleep restfulness, and pressure—and adjust itself so you can sleep better. Some come with a built-in thermostat for manual or automatic temperature regulation. Still others will connect to any IoT devices in your house, like lights and coffee makers, so you can control them without getting up (though this seems redundant with almost all smart devices coming with apps for control). You can even get a smart duvet that will make the bed itself.
Smart Egg Tray
In specialized kitchen gadgets, we now have the option of storing eggs in an egg tray that will track both the number and age of your eggs. While smart refrigerators monitor the overall stock of food contained within and alert you when it’s time to repurchase, this device seems hilariously specific.
Smart Diaper Monitor
It’s a great idea to combine tech and dirty diapers, right? Well, maybe. A smart diaper monitor will track your child’s urination and/or defecation and notify you when it’s time to change the baby. However, the monitor also tracks bathroom patterns over time, giving you more feedback about your child’s health.
For those who can’t have a cat for one reason or another but want the comfort of petting something soft, there’s a robot cat to fill the gap. The Petit Qoobo, which debuted at CES 2020, is a smaller option to the existing Qoobo. It was created in response to apparent demand for more portable robot cats. Both sizes are covered in soft fur-like material, vibrate to imitate purring, and will wag their tails in response to touch or sounds. The weirdest thing about it may be that it doesn’t have a head.
Does something as low-tech as a belt need a smart upgrade? Apparently so. The CES 2020 Innovation Award was given to Korean company WELT for the Smart Belt Pro. An earlier version of a smart belt was designed to track changes in the waistline as a way to give you health data. The idea has been upgraded. The Smart Belt Pro contains sensors designed to track walking irregularities to prevent falls in addition to tracking biometrics a smartwatch would. And it still monitors the size of your waistline, just in case you can’t tell when you need to switch notches.
So there you have it: nine kinds of weird smart devices available to you in 2020. Some have been around but are now being improved on, while others are new.
While you may just be starting to make your home more connected with smart devices, who’s to say one of these won’t be a gamechanger for you?