The Internet of Things is making its way into our everyday appliances. But do I really need my lightbulbs to get online? We've taken a look at seven big new inventions, including a scale that can walk you step by step through a recipe, a doorbell that can open the door for your Facebook friends, and a soap dispenser that can name-and-shame people who don’t wash their hands.
NousLogic Healthcare's soap dispensers can detect whether someone has washed their hands. It's intended for use in hospitals, where employees not washing hands can spread serious diseases. People wear Bluetooth chips that communicate with the dispenser when they enter the bathroom and logs whether someone skips the soap. The system can produce reports that name-and-shame the worst offenders.
The Perfect Company has created two soon-to-be-released wireless scales that can connect to your mobile device. Sit a glass on top, load up the app, and the Perfect Drink wireless scales will help you measure out the ingredients for a cocktail. Or if you're baking, the Perfect Bake wireless scales will walk you through how much of each item to pour into the bowl. The app will sound when it's time to finish pouring, display the next ingredient in easily readable text and even reconfigure the recipe if you pour in too much of an ingredient.
Avi-on's smart mesh bulbs use a draft version of a new Bluetooth mesh standard to talk to each other. No base unit, no nothing. Screw a bulb in, download the app and switch the lights on and off from the comfort of your phone. Avi-on even offers wireless switches, which make moving a light switch as easy as pulling it off the wall and sticking it somewhere new.
Stove and microwave
GE's Chef Connect feature keeps the company's new stove and microwave synchronized. A little glowing Bluetooth logo on the display shows the two are connected, and they will communicate with each other. For example, changing the clock on one will change the clock on the other. Similarly, the range burners will sync up with the vent fan to keep things nice and ventilated.
TimerCap's upcoming iCap is all about making sure elderly relatives take their medication. The cap will tell a paired-up mobile device when a cap was opened, if a cap is opened, how long a cap was open and whether a scheduled dosage was missed. It may seem like something that would require a lot of recharging, but the iCap sips power: The battery needs changing only around once a year.
iDevices' HomeKit-powered array of switches sit between the outlet and the device, letting you switch any device on and off from anywhere in the world. You can even set up specific scenes, such as "bedtime," and have the whole house move over to a preconfigured setting. Tell Siri it's time for bed, and have all the lights switch off, the washing machine go on and the thermostat get set at a comfortable temperature.
KoolTechs' "RingMe" smart doorbell can connect whoever is at the door with the homeowner via Facebook Messenger. If it's someone you trust, you can give their smartphone a digital key to let themselves in. Never again leave a guest out on the doorstep, as the doorbell can even play a personalized greeting message.