Smart home

7 weird smart devices you didn’t know you wanted

Many smart devices made our lives exponentially more convenient, such as the smartphone, remotely accessible security cameras, and many others. There are even some devices out there that you didn’t know you needed it until you saw it, such as a smart fridge or a smart doorbell.

Still, other Internet-connected devices on the market fall into a category of their own and are quite peculiar. In fact, some of them are so strange that it’s hard to imagine that more than a handful of people would need them in their homes.

Check out these seven devices that will make you wonder if 2017 is the year that Internet of Things (IoT) devices went too far:

Internet-connected mattresses, with a “Lover Detection System”

Smarttress, as the name suggests, is a smart mattress. Other ‘smart mattress’ products on the market can control the temperature of your bed and monitor the quality of your sleep. This smart device offers a different service entirely. 

It can tell you if your partner is faithful. It monitors any movement on your bed when you are not at home. Without giving your partner a heads up, this device notifies you via a smartphone app if your bed is being used in a “questionable way.” It even comes with creepy features such as a speedometer. Their motto: “If your partner isn’t faithful, at least your mattress is.”

Smart salt shakers

The Smalt is a smart salt shaker that doles out the perfect amount of salt every time if you’ve ever struggled with measuring a teaspoon versus a tablespoon of salt. According to the company’s website, Smalt acts as a centerpiece for dinner parties, allowing you to stream music and set mood lighting for the occasion.

Smart trash cans

GenieCan is a device that you can attach to the side of your garbage bin. It scans the barcodes of items that are being tossed and adds it to your ‘shopping list’ via the GenieCan app. These items are even paired with coupons. Once your trashcan is full, the app notifies you that it is time to take it out.

The Toasteroid

This name sounds like it is straight out of a science fiction movie. It is an ‘App controlled smart image toaster’ that you can buy. Using this smart toaster, you can send toastages (toast messages) to friends with the device. 

You can even have your local weather forecast toasted onto your breakfast. You can set reminders or just doodle, and all the commands are sent via your smartphone. Luckily, you can use it to make regular toast without your iPhone, if you want to go back to the dark ages for breakfast.

$400 smart toothbrush

If your iPhone has a camera, why shouldn’t your toothbrush? Or at least that is the motto of this Prophix product. 

From your iPhone, you can watch a live feed from your mouth to know exactly which spots still need brushing. You can even save photos to check in with your dentist and track your dental health over time.

Vibrating smart fork

Hapifork is yet another device to help you become your best you. The HapiFork vibrates when it senses that you are overeating, too quickly. 

This device is for those who have felt the need to monitor their dietary habits via Pavlovian methods. The device also connects to a mobile fitness app.

Smart egg tray

For $12 the ‘Quirky Egg Minder Smart Egg Tray’ keeps you fully in the loop about the state of the eggs in your fridge Via iPhone app, make sure you never run out of eggs again.

The tray notifies you when you are running low and even tells you which eggs are close to their expiry date. As the manufacturer says, “you’ll never be in a scramble for a good egg again.”

Any security tips on that?

These devices seem strange and comical. Some may seem worth giving it a try, or at the very least, buying as a gag gift for a loved one. Still, they can be dangerous. Manufacturers often leave these devices vulnerable, as we’ve seen in attacks such as the Mirai botnet attack.

These devices, if infiltrated by an attacker can be, unbeknownst to you, used in a DDoS attack. Hackers can also use these vulnerable IoT devices as entry points to your network.

There is not much sensitive information on your toaster for a hacker to obtain. However, from your smart toothbrush, for example, a hacker can move across your home network to your laptop, where they can gain access to your documents and finances.

For this reason, it is important to confront the reality of that matter. We will continue to see a rise in Internet-connected devices, even those that seem strange and unnecessary. This is because manufacturers stand to benefit from smart appliances. They can use them to collect data on the customers, and the usage of their in order create more desirable, useful products and turn a larger profit.

So, what does this mean to you?

You may see more and more IoT devices in your daily life as household brands begin to adopt this trend. There may be no way around it. Soon, avoiding smart home devices may be as near impossible as it is to go off the grid without a cell phone or computer.

Therefore, whether you are an enthusiastic supporter of this trend, or are more worried about possible dystopian futures, it is important to protect yourself.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Change the default admin username and password on all smart home devices.
  • Never buy devices that cannot be updated (this includes passwords, firmware, and software)
  • Make sure to patch devices as soon as possible. They come up when manufacturers can fix security vulnerabilities in an existing appliance. It’s important you stay up to date with these to be as secure as you can be.