Perhaps you’ve heard of the Internet of Things. You may have such questions as: What is the Internet of Things? Why should I care? and Didn’t I tell myself not to read another article by Scott?
I can answer at least two of those questions. The Internet of Things (or IoT, if you want to be all acronymical about it) is the growing network of electronics embedded in commonly used physical objects. These electronic enhancements are made to increase the object’s usefulness. Since I am not even sure what I just said, let’s look at a famous example of IoT usefulness together: the thermostat.
A regular thermostat controls the heating or cooling in your house, right? (Mine does. Yours may be installed incorrectly.) A thermostat networked as part of the Internet of Things, however, can receive commands from your smartphone miles away (to cool the house before you get home) or can check the weather on its own to see if it needs to adjust the temperature (if you’re out of town, for example, and don’t enjoy having your pipes burst by a sudden freezing spell).
Yes, the Internet of Things is truly coming into its own, and the impending release of the Apple Watch will drive this phenomenon to new heights. Not only can our watches give us the time, but will allow us to talk into our wrists and not seem like we’re roleplaying a Dick Tracy comic strip.
I have a number of ideas for expanding the usefulness of the Internet of Things. Patents are pending, mostly because I don’t know how to file a patent and am much too lazy to learn.
Ever lift a cup to your lips for a refreshing sip, only to find that you had finished the drink several hours before? ME TOO! With SmartCup technology, however, this tragedy need not befall you.
Your wirelessly networked cup will track the progress of your drink consumption, and send you a text message warning when the fluid level in the cup has reached 25% gone, 50% gone, and 75% gone. At 90% consumption, a gentle voice will remind you to refill your drink. It will also list some of the side effects of dehydration, simply as a health service benefit.
The SmartCup will retail for a suggested price of $395 per cup. Gold SmartChalice models will start at $10,000. You’ll never go thirsty again!*
Loose Shoelace Tracker
Untied shoelaces have claimed more lives than all other shoe-related tragedies put together.* Why risk an embarrassing or possibly fatal spill? Shoes equipped with Loose Shoelace Tracker technology sound an alarm when your knot comes loose, alerting you to imminent danger and/or social mockery.
If the knot remains untied for too long, the laces send a warning to local law enforcement officials with your exact GPS-supplied location. The police officer is also sent a short lecture to give you when he/she locates you, assuming you aren’t already in need of medical attention due to your dangerous behavior.
Sometimes, when you’re in a bad mood, there just isn’t anyone around to provide the pep talk you need. With the MoodHat 2000, this concern is a thing of the past! This fashionable ballcap watches your face with advanced MoodHat technology (batteries sold separately), and identifies when you’ve been frowning for more than 45 seconds.
Like magic, the MoodHat 2000 will pipe encouraging comments in your ear such as:
“You are one special guy/gal!”
“You sure do look good in your MoodHat 2000!”
“That step was the first step toward a better life! So was that one! That one, too!”
If your frown persists for more than five minutes, the MoodHat 2000 dispatches a flying drone to drop confetti and party hats in your path. This is virtually guaranteed to put you in a better frame of mind.
The future is here, with even more future coming after that
I know these ideas are amazing, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Chronic thirst, unsafe shoes, and frowning are the defining challenges of our era, and the IoT will certainly help us solve those and many other problems that we don’t even know we have.
* May not be true.