There are plenty of instances in which it makes total sense to elevate a so-called "dumb" product to "smart" status. A security system that texts you if your fire alarm or motion sensor is triggered? Absolutely. A thermostat that adapts to your schedule to save energy? Sure. But I challenge the makers of the Bluetooth-enabled rice cookers, tweeting refrigerators, and texting toilet paper holders to give us one good reason why these are necessary improvements to society. Just because we can connect our everyday items to the internet doesn't mean we should.
Let us consider some of the other more ridiculous and downright absurd products to emerge on the "internet of things" scene in the last few years.
A toothbrush that "guides" you via app
Oral-B Pro 5000
Price: $130 and up
Don't get me wrong, I love an electric toothbrush, but unless you're crippled by some debilitating short-term memory loss a la Drew Barrymore in 50 First Dates that prevents you from remembering how to brush your damn teeth every morning and night, there is no good reason to own a Bluetooth-enabled mouth cleaner.
A fork that tracks how fast you're eating
Trying to lose weight is tough, but is a judgmental $80 fork really the secret to harnessing self-control? If it were up to me, sentient flatware would mind their damn business and stay where they belong: dancing adorably in Disney movies.
A wearable that tells you when you're stressed
I don't know about you, but I generally have a pretty good sense of when I'm feeling stressed out, and I'm pretty sure having some weird little dongle strapped to my body telling me what I already know is only going to make it worse.
A plastic carton that tells you if you need more eggs
I'm having a hard time understanding how this would save you any more than the three to five seconds it takes to peek at how many eggs are left in your current "dumb" carton and read the expiration date.
A bottle that tracks how much water you're drinking
This so-called "water bottle of the future" could very well live up to such a status, but only if all humans mysteriously evolved to forget what being thirsty feels like, or that staying hydrated is a really big deal. Its makers have apparently hit a nerve, though, because it's currently sold out.
A yoga mat that tells you when you're screwing up
I imagine it would be pretty tough to find your center mid-hatha while being intermittently interrupted by some disembodied voice telling you to correct your form, something this sensor-packed mat -- which pairs with your smartphone or tablet -- is designed to do.
A monitor that tells you when your tampon is full
From what I can tell, this is basically a tiny fob that clips to your pants and constantly keeps your smartphone up to speed on how full your tampon is via Bluetooth. Far be it from me as a dude to weigh in on the pros and cons of such a smart tampon, so here are some reactions from some of my female colleagues: "That is insane." "Yeah, that's an embarrassment." "OMG and on a keychain."
An LED-embedded jump rope that displays fitness data as you work out
There's a reasons jumping rope is one of the most efficient ways to whip your body into shape: it's hard as hell! But adding some chrome handles and an LED calorie counter that looks like some novelty clock you bought at Spencer's is not going to make it any easier.
A Wi-Fi-enabled wine bottle with interchangeable cartridges
In theory, I would very much be into any gadget that involves drinking wine, but this whole system seems downright silly. Basically, it's a vessel that kinda looks like a wine bottle, into which you load specially ordered cartridges of vino (and re-order new ones right from the built-in LCD screen). The point? Each cartridge will allegedly keep the wine fresh for up to 30 days, a claim some find dubious. And honestly, how tough is it to finish an open bottle in a week?
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