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5 Crazy IoT Ideas That Might Just Work

Posted by Tom Barbereau on May 2019

With the explosion of the Internet of Things (IoT) in the past few years, more and more companies have been playing with this technology – building new, visionary products that, although in some cases brilliant, in others might seem… well, if not completely crazy, at least somewhat unnecessary.

From the $8,000 Bluetooth toilet with customizable lighting, seat warmer, music and podcasts streaming (why?!) to the $200 smart hairbrush by L’Oréal, there are definitely some weird applications out there.

But what about the ones that might actually work?

Mirror – The Nearly Invisible Interactive Home Gym

When it’s off, Mirror looks just like any other full-length mirror. When you turn it on, however, it turns into an interactive home gym, complete with embedded camera and speakers.

The sleek, interactive mirror/display lets you see yourself in action, as well as showing your instructor and classmates. There are 50+ live classes each week (from cardio and strength to yoga, barre, Pilates, boxing, HIIT and much more), but you can also select a class at any time from the library of on-demand workouts available 24/7.

As if that wasn’t enough, there’s also an option for personal training, thanks to the microphone and camera embedded in the device which make possible to have one-on-one training sessions with certified personal trainers, allowing them to see you and guide you. The system collects your personal fitness profile and biometric data and uses them to optimize your workout to help you achieve your goals.

Mirror was created by Brynn Putnam, a former professional ballerina at New York City Ballet. After retiring at the age of 26, she started her own chain of fitness studios in Manhattan called Refine Method. “I had a child,” she said, “and even though I was the owner of a fitness studio, I found myself struggling to make my real life work with my workouts.”

Putnam built a prototype and raised $38 million in venture funding to create a product that includes all you need from a Gym Membership… without ever leaving your home.

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Plantone – The In-door Smart Gardening System

Plantone is a small, sustainable smart gardening system that pairs automatic watering, adjustable lights, and app control to help you grow and care for your plants.

Basically, it’s an all-in-one ecosystem that can be used and reused indefinitely for up to 5 plants at a time, allowing you to grow herbs and other foods in-door with minimal effort. You can plant specific seeds (for example Basil, French Marigold, or African Milk Tree, to name a few) or choose among the seed packs sold on the Plantone website. These are:

  • The Culinary Pack, which contains herbs that can be used as fresh condiments in your dishes, to add that extra touch of flavor;
  • The Health Pack, which contains herbs and flowers that have been known for their medicinal applications for thousands of years;
  • The Diversity Pack, which contains decorative plants. This comes with an extra customization option, as the app allows you to upload a picture of your home environment to get seed of plants that match your color palette.

Through real-time app technology, users can change Plantone’s settings at any time to adjust light and water their plants from anywhere in the world.

AssistMe – A Digital Assistant for Care Recipients

AssistMe definitely wins the prize for the most unexpected use of IoT technology by placing an IoT sensor inside a diaper in order to detect when it needs to be changed.

This might sound peculiar (to say the least), until one finds out that more than 200 million people worldwide suffer from incontinence – a number that includes more than 70% of the people in care facilities.

The truth is that most care homes are not equipped to provide high standards of care. The work of a caregiver can be extremely tiresome, both physically and emotionally; and this, paired with an imbalanced caregiver-recipient ratio, unappealing salaries, and long working hours, can make the sector less and less attractive to workers, reducing the number of care personnel and lowering the standards for patients.

This is why AssistMe has developed AIDMATE – a digital assistant that provides personalized care models. AIDMATE shows:

  • Which patient should be changed to prevent leakage;
  • Which patient has just had bowel movement;
  • Whether the diaper pants of the patient suffering from diaper dermatitis have already reached a moisture level that is harmful;
  • The residents' activity patterns, reminding caregivers of repositioning actions in case residents haven't moved on their own for too long. AIDMATE will also notify them in case a resident needs support while visiting the toilet at night.

The magic happens thanks to IoT technology, which uses three elements: SENSORS placed inside the incontinence aid to detect when it needs to be changed; a safe and inconspicuous CLIP which transmits the sensed data in an encrypted format to the cloud server; and the CLOUD and backend system, which then work their magic to bring the system to life, turning transmitted insights into actionable information accessible through a website and app.

In short, thanks to IoT technology, this company is making the real-time needs of people in care transparent. Recently, they even came back from testing the devices in German care homes – for which our Sr. Content Manger Elisheva interviewed AssistMe’s CPO Silke Grimmer.

Care will continue to be a human service because health conditions and care needs are highly specific to each person, but technology can be a huge support to the human workforce and help eliminate unnecessary workflows, reduce health risks, and make it possible to predict individual care needs at scale.

With a full-hearted commitment to “care for the people who once cared for us”, AssistMe is using IoT technology to skyrocket the standards of care for elderly people and care recipients. Watch the introduction video below, 

Smart Iron – With temperature control and auto shut-off

It’s not uncommon to leave the house after finishing ironing, and then starting to worry about whether you have actually turned your iron off or not! Smart Iron aims to solve this problem with an auto shut-off feature that detects when the iron is idle – and safely turns it off.

Basically, Each Smart Iron come with an accelerometer chip that can detect the presence or absence of ironing motion. This allows the detection of the idle state of the iron.

Smart Iron can also detect the position of your iron, allowing you to set different idle times based on the iron’s positions. Conventional irons are designed to be placed in a vertical position when they are not being used, and because most of us are used to them, we automatically put the iron down in a vertical position.

This is why it's advisable to allow for a longer idle time when the iron is placed vertically: in doing so, you’ll make sure the iron stays hot for a while longer in case you just need to stop for a few moments to check a text message or keep an eye on your dinner. There are factory-set idle times for both positions, which can be easily changed through the app.

The product comes with a mobile app that displays parameters such as temperature, power usage, and water level. In this way, you can set the iron's temperature from your mobile phone and make sure you take care of your fabrics properly without ruining your favorite items of clothing. You can also use your app to heat up your iron without any need to wait by its side as it’s warming up: when the temperature reaches the set level and your iron is ready to use, an audio alert will play on your smartphone.

Quokka BCN – The Safest Pet Carrier

Millions of people every day travel with their pets, but only 16% of them do it safely. Enter Quokka BCN, the best way to travel safely with your furry friend.

Created by three pet-loving entrepreneurs, Quokka BCN is a Safe Pet Carrier with ISOFIX and IoT. ISOFIX is the international standard for attach points necessary to secure child car seats to cars. This means that you can easily secure Quokka BCN, making sure your pet travels in complete safety while you’re driving.

Quokka comes with an integrated health monitor, which keeps track of air quality, temperature, and humidity levels within the carrier. The technology collects the relevant data and displays it on the companion app, to help you make sure your pet is in optimal conditions at all time.

GPS tracking is also included, as it’s route history and GeoFence – a virtual perimeter fence which allows you to set up virtual lines that trigger an alarm, notifying you when your pet isn’t where it should be.

The company has also run crash test simulations on their pet carrier, perfecting the product accordingly until it passed all the tests. Travelling with pets can be a risky venture, so anything that can lower stress for us and our pets is worth considering.

The many possibilities of IoT innovations

Whether you are suddenly interested in innovating through the Internet of Things, or you’ve already been excited about it for some time and have a few ideas in mind you’d like to bring to life, you should know that there has never been a better time to start working on an IoT project.

By providing a completely new angle to look at everyday life, this new technology makes it possible to solve everyday problems in ways that could not have been thought of before – giving us a chance to reshape the world we live in.

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Tags: Articles, IoT, Entrepreneurship, Startup