10 Intelligent Things That Will Change the Way You Live in 2017
Photography by Justin Fantl 2016 was the year the Internet of Things hit the mainstream. Vodafone’s Internet of Things Barometer, an annual report based on interviews with 1,100 enterprise and public sector executives from 17 countries worldwide, found that 89% of IoT adopters have increased their investments year over year and that 46% of all surveyed plan to launch connected solutions in the next two years. The past year alone has put driverless Ubers to the test on the streets and sent Amazon’s Alexa into millions of consumers’ homes with the Echo. Below, we look ahead at 10 IoT products that are designed to change everyday life in the coming year.
1. Cozmo: A Quirky Companion
Say hello to Cozmo, a kind of real-life WALL-E. Produced by the consumer robotics startup Anki, this little android has a big personality. Cozmo is programmed to explore the world, interpret what he sees, and respond with humanlike emotions. He comes with three interactive Power Cubes so you can challenge him—if he doesn’t challenge you first—to a variety of games. Though small, Cozmo is mighty. More than just a child’s toy, this robot has the potential to break down the barriers between consumers and artificial intelligence.
2. FeverFrida: Always-on Baby Thermometer
For new parents, sleep is vital. But those precious hours might only happen when the baby is sound asleep, too. With the smart thermometer FeverFrida, everyone can rest easier. Thanks to a small Bluetooth-connected patch placed under the baby’s arm, FeverFrida unobtrusively monitors his or her temperature every four seconds and sends updates to a smart device. Parents receive an alert if the baby’s temperature rises above a predetermined level. FeverFrida also acts as a handy health database for pediatrician visits and medicine dosage reminders.
3. Emfit QS: Seamless Sleep Monitor
To get solid, smarter sleep, turn to the Emfit QS. Installed under a mattress, this contact-free sleep tracker provides detailed descriptions of sleep quality and stress level. It measures heart rate variability, which is related to the body’s interdependent regulatory systems, and can be an indicator of health and well-being, helping users make educated choices for workouts, meetings, and other important activities.
4. Furbo: A Partner For Your Pooch
The IoT-enabled interactive home camera Furbo answers the question of what dogs do when their owners are away—and goes a step further. Furbo lets owners keep tabs on their furry companions and sends alerts when it senses excessive barking or disturbances. Two-way audio allows owners to talk directly to their pets. The device can even launch treats with a quick swipe on the phone. Now man’s best friend won’t be so far away.
5. M1 Electric Skateboard: A Rad, Rechargeable Ride
The M1 Electric Skateboard from California-based startup Inboard Technology promises to transform daily errands into an adventure. A handheld wireless remote controls the longboard’s throttle, shuttling riders from, say, their house to the store to the bank and back at speeds up to 24 miles per hour. It even goes uphill. Also, the Inboard Vision mobile app allows riders to optimize performance, view battery levels, and adjust the settings from their smart devices. The M1 is the first board of its kind to integrate motors into the wheels, allowing for a sleek, uncluttered design. Its rechargeable, swappable batteries can be changed in mere seconds. Last December, Inboard’s three cofounders appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank and received a $750,000 loan from two investors. Online orders are already being taken, and the cofounders aim to have the boards hit the shelves of Best Buy and other retailers this year.
6. LifeFuels Bottle: Responsive Refreshments
It’s easy to forget to take vitamins—if you even take them at all. But the Bluetooth-connected LifeFuels bottle makes it simple to remember at the optimal time. By adding a cartridgelike recyclable container, called a FuelPod, to the bottle, a user can automatically receive vitamins, supplements, and water enhancers dispensed via the LifeFuels smartphone app. The bottle knows how much was consumed and how much is left. Users can also set fitness goals and get nutrition recommendations straight from the app. The bottle connects to most wearable fitness trackers, aggregating need-to-know health information into a useful, portable package.
7. Vayyar Sensors: Transparent Tech
Vayyar’s 3-D–sensor imaging technology lets users see through solid materials, objects, and liquids using low-power radio frequency transmission scanning. In 2016, the company implemented its tech in Walabot, a consumer 3-D–imaging device that works with a smartphone app to scan walls for pipes or wires and even has the potential to help blind people navigate around obstacles through its API. Vayyar’s technology can also detect anomalies in food safety and, thanks to low power consumption, can be used almost anywhere. Imagine being able to have a full body scan without the claustrophobic experience of an MRI machine.
8. Wink Hub 2: The At-Home Hub
From cars to kitchens to door locks, intelligent technologies are linking up every aspect of our lives, which means we’ll need a smarter way to keep track of it all. That’s the job of the Wink Hub 2, an updated version of the original home automation device released in 2014. This connected-home hub features expanded Wi-Fi capabilities, more memory, and support for leading smart home protocols and devices to unite them all in one place. Users can access their connected devices from a central app on their smartphones, making a connected life more seamless.
9. Innit: The Communicating Kitchen
The U.S. has a food-waste problem, with an estimated 30% to 40% of food ending up in the garbage. Enter Innit, a Silicon Valley startup that developed a unified platform for smart appliances, installable sensors, and cameras to provide a full picture of what’s in the fridge and cupboards. With a smartphone app, a user can tap on an item and get up-to-date expiration information. Because Innit knows when food will spoil, the app offers recipe recommendations based on ingredients that need to be used. Got leftover spinach and canned albacore tuna? Innit can find a recipe that uses both. Missing an ingredient to cook a meal tomorrow? Innit will add the item to an online shopping list.
10. Civil Maps: Real-Time Driving Maps
Nearly 10 million cars with self-driving features will be on the road by 2020, a report from BI Intelligence predicts. But major obstacles remain when it comes to realizing the proliferation of truly autonomous vehicles—namely, how they respond to situations that require human context, such as road signs and new street construction. The 3-D mapping startup Civil Maps uses self-learning cognitive technology to perceive and respond to real-world conditions, such as construction or lane closures. Civil Maps also filters data scanned by sensors and onboard imaging systems to help cars drive more like humans. Ford Motor Company and other automakers have already invested in the startup with the hope of revving up the self-driving revolution.