The Internet of Things has been growing for quite a while now. The promise of smart and connected gadgets has resulted in many, many applications of Internet of Things. Some of these projects are useful, yet some are not. Some of these applications, like smart TV, smartwatch, and smart home, are expected, whereas others are not. Let’s look at a few surprising applications that tap into the Internet of Things.
Let’s get started with a project from Google.
1. Google’s Project Jacquard
Simply put, project Jacquard is a smart jacket, a literal piece of clothing that you can wear that is connected to your smartphone. By tapping and swiping on the jacket sleeve, you can control the music player and map application on your smartphone. This project is actually a collaboration between Google and Levi’s, where Google invented a fabric that can read touch input and Levi’s applied the technology to a product people will actually want to wear.
Even right now, the idea of a fabric that we can interact with boggles my mind. My biggest problem with wearables like smart watch and smart band is that they felt like another device we need to take care of. Meanwhile, a jacket is something that we just wear, with its smart capability being an additional benefit. Not to mention that connected fabric allows more aspects of our daily life to be integrated with our digital life.
That said, project Jacquard is not the first smart clothing, there are other projects like Athos that embeds sensor to their clothing. Still, project Jacquard is the first one that allows people to actually interact with their clothing.
Hapifork is actually one of the first smart gadgets that I was aware of. As the name alludes to, Hapifork is a smart fork with capacitive sensor, motion sensor, vibration motor and a micro USB port. You might wonder why a fork needs all those bells and whistles. Well, you see, Hapifork uses those sensors to detect your eating motion and alerts you if you are eating too fast. After all, eating too fast can cause weight gain and other physical issues, so the fork tries to help you live a healthier life.
While the idea has some merits, I’m still not sure an unwieldy smart fork is a good way to make us eat healthier. I think actually eating healthy food is a better way to do that. That said, the idea of smart eating utensils is fascinating. I would totally get a smart plate with the capability of counting the amount of calories in our food.
3. Smart food maker
In 2016 there was a wave of smart food-making devices that started and successfully completed their crowdfunding project. These devices are designed to make it easier and quicker for people to prepare food. They are designed to be much easier than just using a microwave oven, that is. The problem is, these devices are pricey and are only able to prepare a specific type of food. There is CHiP, which can bake various kind of cookies from a set of dough and there is Flatev that can bake tortillas from a pod of dough.
While the concept may initially sound weird, having a specific device to make a specific type of food is actually not that weird. After all, we already have a machine that only makes a cup of fresh coffee, so having a machine that only makes a fresh plate of cookies could be the next natural step.
4. Smart tattoo
Of all the things that can be smart and connected, a tattoo is definitely not the one that comes to my mind. But apparently that’s not the case with plenty of researchers from all over the world. There have been a couple of bleeding edge projects that resulted in connected tattoos. L’Oreal has created tattoos that are able to detect ultraviolet exposure, and Microsoft and MIT have created tattoos that users can use to interact with smartphones. And late last year a group of researchers created a tattoo with an accelerometer that can detect a user’s heartbeat.
So far wearables have been smart accessories that you wear daily. Since you also wear your skin every day, would it also count as wearable?
If you ever thought that human isn’t a creative creature, just remember that it’s also a human who invented the concept of smart umbrella.
Oombrella is a connected umbrella that will notify you when it’s about to rain and also will notify you if you’ve left it behind in a restaurant. These functionalities may sound passable at first, until you realize that the weather notification comes from your smartphone and you just need a weather app instead of a smart umbrella. That said, this project has been successfully crowdfunded, so maybe people actually want a smart umbrella.
About the author
Raka Mahesa is a game developer at Chocoarts
(http://chocoarts.com/), who is interested in digital technology in general. Outside of work hours, he likes to work on his own projects, with Corridoom VR being his latest released game. Raka also regularly tweets as @legacy99