Does everything need to be “smart?” We’re moving into a new era where digital brains are built into all sorts of household products, from refrigerators to door locks.
Some of these make a lot of sense, like having a smart thermostat that automatically adjusts the temperature, learns your habits, and saves you money in the process. Join us as we explore the stranger side of the smart home with these three oddball items:
1. Quirky Egg Minder
Let’s think about an average egg carton. It’s designed to hold a dozen eggs and keep them from breaking. That’s its purpose in life. Now let’s look at the Quirky Egg Minder, a smart egg tray that sits in your refrigerator and tracks your eggs. Yes, it’s real.
The tray holds a total of 14 eggs and syncs with the Wink smart home app. It’s designed to tell you how many eggs you have left, which could be handy when you’re at the store without your shopping list. The tray itself contains sensors and LED lights that are supposed to mark which eggs are the oldest so you can use them up first. The app can also notify you when an egg has expired.
Why does the Egg Minder exist? It’s the bizarre brainchild of invention site Quirky and huge corporation GE. It’s not a terrible idea, it just isn’t very necessary. Your standard egg carton already has an expiration date printed on it. If your eggs are so old you have no recollection of buying them, then maybe it’s time for new eggs anyway. Perhaps the most compelling reason to buy this is for the novelty bragging rights. You can tell your friends, “Hey, I have a smart egg tray. How cool is that?”
Dental floss might seem like it would be immune to the smart trend. It’s just a roll of thin string kept in a plastic container meant for cleaning those hard-to-reach places between your teeth. How could you make it smart? The creators of Flosstime, an automated floss dispenser, figured out how to put some tech brains into this basic hygiene routine.
Flosstime is a round gadget that sticks onto your bathroom mirror and dispenses 18 inches of floss at the push of a button. A set of lights cue you through your flossing routine. It forms a smile after you floss and a reminder frown if you forget. It also times your flossing so you don’t skimp on your cleaning. It can support two different users, but that means a larger family might want more than one Flosstime.
Flosstime comes with a cute frog-shaped faceplate that snaps onto the top to help encourage kids to develop good habits. Optional crab and fish faceplates let you change up the look.
The less charming part of Flosstime is that it uses proprietary cartridges. It comes with a year’s supply of floss for a single person, but after that, you’ll need to invest in new replacement cartridges from the company. Those cartridges come loaded with a standard Oral-B Glide Comfort Floss. If you can’t live without your mint-flavored floss, then you’ll be a little disappointed. Despite those drawbacks, Flosstime is an intriguing idea, especially for people who need a little nudge to improve their oral hygiene.
3. Pura Scents
Once upon a time, home fragrances were delivered mainly via old-school methods like candles, sprays or potpourri. Then, along came plug-in air fresheners with built-in electrical warmers designed to send scents spilling into the air. So what’s the next step in air freshener evolution? Why, a smart air freshener, of course. Pura Scents aims to put some higher-level technology into the home fragrance market.
The dispenser plugs into a wall socket and wirelessly pairs up with an iOS or Android app so you can trigger it on demand, or just set it to release scents on a schedule. Pura has developed an appropriately dreamy-sounding line of fragrance refills, including “linens & lace,” “midnight kiss,” and “vanilla chiffon.” The gadget also has a built-in LED night light. The app supports multiple dispensers, so you could set a variety of scent themes for different rooms.
Pura started as a successful Kickstarter project and is currently offering preorders for the product, but hasn’t yet shipped the final gadget. If Pura delivers as expected, then it could be a fun upgrade to the usual plug-in air fresheners. As with many crowdfunding projects, it’s hard to tell what buyers will get until it’s actually in their hands.
Will a smart egg tray, a smart floss dispenser, or a smart air freshener radically change your home life? Probably not, but they do point to a new frontier in home technology where just about anything can grow a brain.