Is the Internet of Silly Things just a load of hot air?

Written by on May 7, 2015 in Opinion with 3 Comments

CH4My first attempts to cover the burgeoning IoT device sector unearthed a myriad of things that were so, well, silly that I dubbed them IoST or the Internet of Silly Things.

I thought that many were simply mad ideas devised by pranksters to see how far they could go. Yet many of those things have managed to get crowdfunding and even made it to production and online stores. Whether they become profitable or even sell, remains to be seen.

The Bluetooth toothbrush made a splash at MWC in Barcelona earlier this year. The Smart Belt starred in CES in Las Vegas, but the latest round of IoST gizmos leaves me concerned with the future of mankind.

Have we become obsessed with our bodies or is that what those weirdo inventors, mainly come from California, would like us to think so. I say this because the bulk of new ‘things’ are related to bodies or body functions and are loosely coupled under a ‘healthcare’ label.

Let me share with some of the wonders you are about to be tempted with. First up is the SmartPlate that claims to be the first connected plate capable of instantly tracking and analyzing everything you eat. And this is no ordinary plate! It comes with three digital cameras and load sensors that identify and weigh the contents of the plate and sends the images and data to the cloud for analysis. The plate instantly identifies, weighs and journals everything you eat, woks out how fast you are eating, and even tells you when you have gone over on your macro-nutrients (whatever they are).

But wait, there’s more. It comes with a “portable, microwavable lid so you can take breakfast, lunch or dinner wherever you go.” Wow, what a great concept a plate I can take with me everywhere, filled with food that has been analyzed and zapped in a microwave. That will certainly work for one meal, but what if I need to take lunch and dinner with me? Presumably I would need two or more SmartPlates.

The perfect accompaniment to the SmartPlate would have to be the HAPIfork. This beautifully designed implement available in many colours and powered by Slow Control, is an electronic fork that helps you monitor and track your eating habits. Because eating too fast leads to poor digestion and poor weight control your HAPIfork alerts you with the help of indicator lights and gentle vibrations when you are eating too fast. Every time you bring food from your plate to your mouth with your fork, this action is called: a “fork serving.” Who would have ever thought that ‘forking’ could be so critical?

And let’s not forget cooking the food in the first place. What self-respecting kitchen would be seen without a ‘Pantillegent’ frying pan. The ‘inventor’ of this brilliant piece of cookware is utterly convincing in his own home-made video in attracting potential invertors. He demonstrates how the frypan, linked to a smartphone app of course, becomes the centre of the culinary universe allowing total novices to produce perfectly cooked salmon or steak every time. The secret is simply the temperature sensor built into the frypan and that the right temperature is the sole reason food is always cooked perfectly.

Sadly, there is no mention of how one cooks any extras like potatoes, vegetables or sauces. But if you are into low-carb, high protein diets this is ideal. I can see it being sold on TV with a set of steak knives thrown in.

But what about what you drink, I hear you ask. Ah, there’s a thing for that too. It’s called the Vessyl and its creators claim – “it’s not magic, but close to it.” You see, the Vessyl which basically looks like a designer cup with a spill-proof lid, knows and aggregates the makeup of everything you drink.

It really looks quite brilliant in the video. Your pour beer, or Coke or juice into the Vessyl and wording magically appears on the outside surface telling you that the contents of the cup are beer, Coke or orange juice – just in case you forgot what you poured into it. It also calculates things like the sugar and calorific value of the liquid and adds that to yet another app that sends the info to the cloud (and presumably a supplier of your favorite drink).

Sadly, after all this eating and drinking you might suffer a little discomfort in the nether regions that could result (in polite terms), with the breaking of some wind. But don’t worry, there is an IoST device for that, too! If the clever marketing behind that piece of ingenuity can be believed, the CH4 (presumably named after the chemical formula of methane), is another wearable device that you can put in your pocket or attach to your belt to help you reduce your ‘gases.’

The CH4 phone app keeps track of your meals and comes with a dashboard that combines gas tracking with food habits. As you use the app longer, foods get correlated with gas production and the app identifies foods that you should avoid.

In the words of the marketers, ‘farts’ are almost always the result of your food intake (another brilliant deduction). As you digest food, gases such as hydrogen, methane, and carbon dioxide collect in your intestines. “If you could you keep track of your farts vs. the type of food you are consuming, you would know what foods to avoid and fix the problem. CH4 does exactly that! The app automatically tracks your gases and recommends changes to your diet that will eliminate them!”

I’m sure many of you will want one of these and if you head over to Kickstarter you can view the brilliant video supporting the product and be an early investor knowing you are helping reduce those holes in the ozone layer, making the world a better place and you more pleasant to be around.

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About the Author

About the Author: Tony is a freelance writer, regular speaker, MC and chairman for the telecoms and digital services industries worldwide. He has founded and managed software and services companies, acts a market strategist and is now Editor of DisruptiveViews. In June 2011, Tony was recognized as one of the 25 most influential people in telecom software worldwide. .


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  1. Martin Chesbrough says:

    Love the article and the term. I am reminded of the early days of flight.

    Many silly designs for winged devices were proposed as inventors tried to solve the problem of powered flight. In the end just a few designs won out.

    In those days there were also skeptics, who would ever want or need to fly they said.

    • Tony Poulos says:

      Dear Martin, are you implying that I am a skeptic? I’ll have you know I resemble that remark! 😮

  2. Michah says:

    I have the next best IoST, it’s a sensor called ‘WordOfMouth’.
    It’s a little piece of chewing gum, (reusable and washable) with a bluetooth sensor, that interprets what you say and what is said to you and automatically loads it into the cloud for ever more.
    You have a mobile app (Android and iOS) that you can search through that indexed garbage. It even shows you a graph of how many words you said each hour, each day, filtered per person, per location, a veritable data warehouse.
    One use case is when your wife sends you to buy something and you forget, no problem check your WordOfMouth. Talk about ROI?
    It can be integrated with Virtual Reality Headsets and bring up in an instant, proof from past conversations of what was argued.
    The road map includes a future version of software that will also send an electric shock when you need to shut up.
    What will they think of next?
    All rights reserved (LOL).

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