From learning thermostats to garage-opening apps, there’s no doubt smart home devices have brought convenience to our doorstep – but we’re willing to bet many aren’t nearly as practical as they seem. Below, we’ve rounded up some recent innovations that are more oddity than necessity. Could these be the smart home solutions we never knew we needed? You be the judge!
Described as a smartphone for pets, this device boasts “petificial” intelligence (really!) that monitors your pet while you’re not home. It also features a speaker so you can “tell your pet that you love them or play some calming music to help with pet separation anxiety,” according to the PetBot website, and a treat dispenser that you can control from your smartphone.
The best part of all: your pet can send you selfies and bark or meow notifications. Need we say more?
Developed within Samsung’s Accelerator program, this Android-compatible app transforms camera-enabled gadgets into home monitoring devices. Simply download the app on your Android phone or tablet, point the camera to the desired area and press record for real-time video of your house plants.
We kid! While the app provides a layer of security without the expense of a separate monitoring system, it also gives you the opportunity to take action if something goes awry – assuming you’re always watching the stream, like some underground villain plotting world domination of your living room. We applaud the ingenuity, but all of those “eyes” watching may render a little too close for comfort. We’ll wait and see on this one.
Aside from informing employees of their relative value, this app reveals what we’re all wondering about our neighbors – how much do they earn? While not necessarily a smart home fixture, it answers a question we’d be discourteous to ask ourselves.
Mildly intrusive? Yes. But it’ll save you from making a faux pas at the next block party. (You know you want to know!) We’d say that’s worth it.
Touchscreens are so yesterday. With Singlecue, users can control their televisions, cable boxes, other media devices (and now smart home technologies) with a wave of a finger, or a “gesture.” No more fishing for a lost remote!
There is, however, potential for the gadget to recognize unintentional gestures. That says, we don’t recommend this product for musical conductors, or those still incensed over “The Sopranos” finale.
“Imagine a world where window treatments anticipate your needs,” reads the Hunter Douglas website. Intelligent shades with PowerView Motorization operate based on “scenes” you set – shade levels selected for specific times of day. Give your window treatments your location and they’ll even coordinate opening and closing with sunrise and sunset.
The practical use here, of course, is to make it appear you’re home when you aren’t – but most people are home. (What happens if your shades close, but you’re not ready to go to bed? Your window treatments are dictating your schedule, people!) We’d venture to say most folks can spare the time it takes to adjust their window treatments – unless you’re Leonardo DiCaprio.