The Internet is filled with things people don’t really need or want. Enter the INTERNET OF CARING THINGS. Companies are now recognizing the demand for products that actually help the everyday consumer. Whether it is for health, mind, safety, security, or family, the INTERNET OF CARING THINGS introduces a multitude of products designed to help and care for people. In a world where 100 “things” are introduced online every second, perhaps it is time to take a step back and focus on the products designed to really improve human life.
Technology has advanced to the point where high-tech products can serve as means for comfort or care. Wireless connectivity has advanced leaps and bounds, making it easier to network a vast range of products, from the mundane toothbrush to your high-tech watch. The wide availability of cloud storage also makes it easier for consumers and businesses alike to store data that is generated from the INTERNET OF CARING THINGS. Another useful technology lies in new smartphones, which will allow to-the-centimeter geo-location, an important aspect of many new products. And finally, the popularity of crowdfunding (i.e. Kickstarter) allows consumers to choose the technologies they would like to see most, spurring new hardware and software innovation.
Let’s take a look at some products on their way to consumers in 2014…
INTERNET OF HEALTHY THINGS
These products are interconnected to provide the user with self-tracking in their daily life which, in turn, should help improve their physical well being.
Cuptime – a Chinese smart cup that monitors hydration for the user. The user enters their height and weight, and Cuptime will monitor if they are drinking enough and award the user a ‘hydration performance’ score on their smartphone.
Athos – a smart fitness suit that monitors muscle function, heart rate, breathing, cadence, balance, and form. The suit allows wearers to track how they are using their muscle groups and if they are exercising properly.
Stir Kinetic Desk – a smart desk that monitors health and encourages productivity. The user enters personal data and selects a preferred height for the desk. In Active Mode, the desk will move up and down to encourage the user to move at appropriate times. Over time the desk “learns” and adapts to the particular user. For a measly $3,890 you can have an annoying moving desk all to yourself!
INTERNET OF MINDFUL THINGS
Mindful products are designed to help stressed, over-stimulated, and time-poor individuals balance their work and mental health.
NeuroOn – a sleep mask that monitors brain waves, eye movement, and muscle tension to help the user get the most out of their nap. Forget the nap pods at Google, you can have your own powernap this July for $250!
Vigo – a device worn around the ear that uses an infrared sensor to detect the users levels of alertness. When Vigo detects the wearer is growing tired, an alert is sent to the user’s smartphone to energize them.
INTERNET OF SAFETY THINGS
Safety is a fundamental human need, so it is no surprise that consumers gobble up anything to make their lives safer. Considering all the silly things humans do, we will take all the help we can get to protect ourselves.
Skully – a smart motorcycle helmet that helps the rider see their blindspots using a camera and a heads-up display (HUD).
Nest – a smart home appliance recently acquired by Google. The Nest detects trace amounts of smoke and carbon monoxide and alerts the user via voice rather than annoying alarm. Notices can also be sent to smartphones.
INTERNET OF SECURITY THINGS
Security is taken to the next level with a smart network of interconnected objects that help to protect your prized possessions.
The Cricket – a smart bike alarm that alerts the user via their smartphone if the bike is touched, moved, or stolen.
Goji Smart Lock – a smart lock that sends pictures of people trying to enter through a locked door. Users can unlock and lock doors via their smartphones, or send electronic keys to individuals for future access.
INTERNET OF FAMILY THINGS
Now for the fun stuff, take your family interaction to the next level.
Toymail – parents can send voicemails to their little ones via talking Toymail.
Mother – a slightly creepy looking (and aptly named) smart device that monitors home and family through Wi-Fi and sensors throughout the home.
T.Jacket – a smart jacket that allows parents to give hugs to their kids via smartphone app. The parent can set the strength of the hug and monitor how the child reacts via anxiety sensors. Just what every kid wants, I’m sure.
With all of these “caring” products soon to be on the market, will they truly improve our lives? We can get hydrated, reduce our sleep, get hugs from mom, and improve our yoga without ever having to interact with a human. Is that an improvement? You decide.