13 Awesome Smart Gadgets You Probably Haven’t Seen
Now That’s Smart!
It’s currently an exciting time for smart technology. Our lives are being automated more and more as gadgets, many of them app-based, are coming on the market and syncing with existing devices. If you don’t already have a personal IoT, or internet of things, fear not — you probably will soon.
Additional Reading: The State of Internet of Things in 6 Visuals
For the home and beyond, smart devices make every experience as smart, simple, and convenient as possible. Perhaps some devices take this principle too far, but ultimately, that’s for customers to decide. Take a look at these 13 awesome smart gadgets that you may not have seen before.
1. WINBOT Window Cleaning Robot
If you hate washing windows, if you have high glass surfaces that you can’t reach to clean well, or if you just like the idea of delegating all of your clean-up chores to a robot, then you’ll want to check out one of the WINBOT Window Cleaning Robots.
It’s easy to use: spray the cleaning pad with glass cleaner, switch on the device, and place it on a window or other glass surface (such as a mirror). It sticks by suction and gets to work immediately, passing back and forth to clean. It works on framed or frameless windows, and it will determine the size of the surface so it can clean it as efficiently as possible.
Depending on the model of WINBOT you purchase, you’re looking at a price tag of £250 and up. It’s a lot, but then again, your windows will get cleaned, and you won’t have to lift a finger.
2. Quirky Porkfolio Smart Piggy Bank
It was only a matter of time before the piggy bank became smart. It actually makes sense: there are coins inside that hollow Wilbur, but how many, and how much money is in there? Here’s where Quirky’s Porkfolio can help. Sync it with the Wink app (it’s free), then start putting coins in the pig’s belly. The coins will be counted, and the snout will light up as a little reward.
How much money do you have? Just check the app. At $50 USD (around £33), it’s a fun little toy that can really encourage kids to save. The downside? It currently works with US coins only. So, it’s great for consumers in America, but the rest of the world will have to wait for v2.0 (or a firmware upgrade at the very least) to count their pence, euros, rupees, yuan, yen, or whatever.
3. Oral-B BlueTooth Toothbrush
With Oral-B’s smart toothbrush, you get all the benefits you’d expect from the company’s powered brushes (better clean, lots of rotation, less plaque build-up, and so on), but it’s got BlueTooth. Why? Well, that’s the big question. When synced with the corresponding app, you can receive real time feedback on how well you’re brushing so that you don’t push too hard or miss any spots.
As long as you don’t mind holding your smartphone while you’re brushing (and wiping off the occasional splash of water or toothpaste), it’s helpful. Is it necessary? That’s up to you. The Oral-B BlueTooth toothbrush retails for £229, but you can find it at many retailers for half that.
4. The Orange Chef Prep Pad and Smart Food Scale
The Prep Pad is a smart kitchen scale that syncs with an iPad to give you full nutritional information and other details about the food you’re eating: calories, vitamins, protein, carbs — everything. You can either put a food item on the device and type in what it is, or you can scan a barcode; either way, full data about that item will pop up so you can keep track of it.
The app lets you set goals for how and what you want to eat, and it will log your totals for analysis. You can also build and save recipes, with all of the relevant data like number of servings, number of ingredients, and so on. If you’re hooked on your fitness tracker, a Prep Pad is the logical second half of the health equation.
Prep Pad does tend to make eating a bit of a science experiment, but if you’re on a strict (or restricted) diet, it can provide you with the information you need to make good decisions. The sticker price is nearly $150 USD (about £98), but it can be found on sale for closer to $50.
5. HAPILABS HAPIfork
If you bolt your food like it’s going to be taken from you, if you don’t spend enough time eating the food you need to survive, or if you’re just a fast eater who pays for your bad habit with regular indigestion, perhaps you’d like to invest $99 USD (about £65) in the HAPIfork smart fork.
It helps you to develop good, slower eating habits for optimum digestion and to help you avoid overeating. Sync it with the app, and it will take note of when you start and stop eating, how many bites (or forkfuls) you take, and how frequently you bring the fork to your mouth. Go too fast, and the red warning light will brighten plus the handle will vibrate. If you’re trying to pace yourself, it will light up green when you can have another bite.
There are training plans and charts for analysis. It may seem a bit excessive, but it’s quite popular, pulling in almost $135,000 USD on Kickstarter two years ago.
6. Perfect Drink App-Controlled Smart Bartender
If you’re always in search of the perfectly-poured cocktail, if you want to impress your friends with your bartending skills, or if you just really want to know how to make a Long Island Iced Tea (hint: there’s no tea), then the Perfect Drink app-controlled smart bartender is for you.
It’s a small scale that connects via a cable (so, it’s not wireless) to your iOS or Android device and guides you through preparation of over 300 cocktail recipes. It contains a wealth of information about many popular spirits, and you can create and save your own drink recipes as well. The scale is helpful because there’s no measuring involved; you just pour into the tared-out glass, and the app tells you when it’s enough.
It’s definitely a luxury item, but if you’re the type of person who spends big money on premium liquor, then spending another £49.99 on this handy device to help you mix it properly may not be a big deal.
7. Light bulbs That Play Music, Speakers That Give Light
Why settle for ordinary smart light bulbs or ordinary smart speakers when you can have a Charms Blow Pop of illumination and audio? This combination is seen in a few products on the market. The LightFreq Square2 Smart Light bulb and Speaker, which recently finished a successful Indiegogo campaign and should ship next month to initial backers, can shine in any of 16 million colours, stream audio, provide voice notifications, and much more. Similarly, there are Sengled Pulse dimmable LED light bulb wireless speakers, Propel LED light bulbs with BlueTooth Speakers, AwoX StriimLIGHT LED light bulbs with BlueTooth speakers, and several other products with this dual functionality.
8. Levitating Speakers
Is levitation the new surround sound? It very well could be, and while surround sound is perhaps a bit more functional, you have to admit that levitation is pretty cool. You’ve got a few options if you’re in the market for a small wireless orb of a speaker that plays while suspended in mid-air.
OM/One boasts that it’s the first levitating speaker out there, while the MOXO X-1 Levitating Maglev speaker seems to sound better and float easier, the ICE Orb Floating Speaker offers the cleanest design. If you don’t mind your levitating objects to be a bit more irregularly shaped, there’s the Air 2 floating speaker — the Millennium Falcon to the other three’s Death Star, if you will.
They’re all small, they’re all portable, and they’re all cool conversation pieces.
9. Quitbit Lighter
It seems counter-intuitive — a lighter to help you quit smoking? — but Quitbit bills itself as the last lighter you’ll ever need. It’s smart, of course, tracking how often you smoke and helping you step down by telling you how many minutes until you can smoke again. By the end of your quit program (which you can customise), you’ll be down to zero and on your way to a healthier you.
It lights your smokes with a heating coil, so there’s no open flame to worry about and no lighter fluid to refill. The battery lasts a week, it syncs with either iOS or Android to track how much you smoke and how much money you’re saving by not smoking, and you can share your progress on social media. The first units should ship in October, and you can pre-order one for $99 USD (£65).
10. Withings Smart Kid Scale
Parents understand, everyone else thinks it’s crazy, and at £149.95 a pop, Withings is taking it all to the bank. The Smart Kid Scale allows parents of newborns, toddlers, and kids up to the age of eight to keep track of their exact weight every day, rather than waiting for increasingly spaced out doctor appointments to get a precise measurement. For babies, the scale includes a cradle attachment, while bigger kids can simply step on it. The dedicated app shows you your child’s growth on a chart, compares it to averages, and does more like time out baby feedings and record other helpful information about him or her. Like some other Withings products, the Smart Kid Scale is relatively expensive. However, Withings and other manufacturers know that when it comes to items for bebe, price is often no object.
11. Smart Petcams
For keeping an eye on fluffy when you’re away from home, there are some pet-specific smart cameras that can help you out. They’re like the infamous nanny cams, only for dogs and cats. And before you go thinking that this is a bit excessive, you should know that one of these products — that’s the Petcube — brought in a quarter of a million dollars USD on Kickstarter a few years ago.
Clearly, there’s a demand here. The Petcube is cool because not only can you see what your pet is up to, you can talk to it, even when you’re miles away. The device also has a laser pointer that you can control remotely to get your pet moving around.
To take the petcam concept one step further, there’s Petzi. The name is unfortunate (doesn’t it sound like Nazi to you?), but the function is really cool: it’s a remote treat dispenser! Is Rover being a good pup? Use the app to tell Petzi to toss him a few fish biscuits.
12. Spin Remote
Guys, listen up: this is cool. The Spin Remote is a wireless controller for just about any and all smart devices in your home. How you use it gets customised through the app; everything is a function of touch and gesture.
You can turn smart lights on and off, power your TV and stereo, control the volume, pause video, and more. The device itself may not look like much — it’s like an odd shiny doorknob or a thermos lid — but it’s pretty powerful. The exterior is touch sensitive, there’s a touchpad on the bottom, and again, you program its functionality.
It’s not out yet, but it is available for pre-order for €99 (about £73). For a remote control device that makes all of your other remotes seem obsolete, that’s not too shabby.
13. The Comfortable TV Listening Headband
You want to watch TV in bed, but you don’t want to disturb your sleeping partner by turning up the volume. Headphones are an OK solution, but they’re uncomfortable when you’re trying to get cozy on your pillow. And you certainly don’t want to fall asleep with earbuds in and risk the pain of rolling your head the wrong way.
It’s a real problem!
Fortunately, the Comfortable TV Listening Headband brings total convenience to late-night in-bed TV watching. It’s a flat, soft headband with integrated wireless speakers. It’s rechargeable, it works with any TV (as long as there’s an audio output jack), and it’s easy to use.
What it isn’t is cheap: this handy device will set you back $149.95 USD (about £98). However, like everything else on this list, it does make life just a little bit nicer.
Smart Gadgets? Yes. Necessary? Well…
If you haven’t heard of any (or most) of these products, don’t feel like you’re suddenly out of touch with the tech market. These are all niche products, designed to provide a very specific convenience for a highly targeted audience. Are they cool? Yes. Are they smart? You bet.
Are they necessary? Well, that’s up to you.