When you picture a smart home, what’s the first thing that pops into your head? Perhaps smart thermostats and intelligent security systems. Or maybe you’re more interested in whole-house audio. You might even think about stuff for your garden like smart sprinkler systems and automatic lawnmowers.
These gadgets are all very different, but they’re all undeniably useful. These days, they’re also all somewhat mainstream.
But for every useful and meaningful gadget out there, there are 10 that are utterly inexplicable. Some are so strange, it’s remarkable that anyone ever buys them.
Join us on a journey as we take a whirlwind tour through the weird and wonderful world of bizarre smart home gadgets.
What It Does: Combines a vacuum cleaner and trash can into a single device.
Sure, no one likes vacuuming the house — that’s why Roombas were invented. Similarly, no one likes taking the trash out on collection day.
Bruno can’t do either of those things by itself, but it can remind you when trash day is imminent, send you a notification when your bin is almost full, and hoover up dust through a slot at the bottom. All vital features, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Bruno is on sale for $199. A six-month supply of bags costs an eye-watering $40 per packet.
What It Does: A pod-based tortilla maker.
The makers of Flatev have decided that mixing flour, baking powder, and water is too complicated for most people. If you want to make tortillas, you need to use “dough pods” — much like Keurig’s coffee pods.
The optimist in me says I’m glad they realized we’ve been doing it wrong for 12,000 years. My inner cynic, however, says the 79-cent-per-tortilla pods are the company’s driving motivation.
What It Does: Glows different colors to “visualize” information.
What’s one thing you’ve always wanted on your desk? A custom-built high-end computer? An expensive sculpture by a famous artist? A top-of-the-range intercom system? … An annoying glowing cube?
Orbnext glows different colors to inform you about everything from stock prices to the weather. Shell out the $129 and you’ll be the envy of your colleagues in no time. Or not.
What It Does: Reminds you to floss your teeth at regular intervals.
Smart devices in the bathroom aren’t as crazy as you think — they can perform important functions to keep your personal hygiene on track. But an intelligent floss dispenser? It’s a bit much.
Flosstime sticks to your mirror and dispenses floss when you tap it. It “smiles” at you when you’re flossing regularly, “frowns” when you’ve missed a session, and even times each individual clean.
5. Eight Sleep
What It Does: It’s a smart bed cover.
The Eight Sleep cover can turn any dumb old bed into a smart bed. It will monitor 12 vital sleep metrics (their words, not mine), give you a daily report on your sleep performance, and sync with other Wi-Fi gadgets in your home.
I’m not sure how our ancestors ever survived without one.
What It Does: A smart piggy bank to help kids save money.
You know what today’s kids really need? A way to spend even more time staring at their smartphone screens.
Porkfolio will achieve just that. It can count coins as they’re inserted (apparently, manually counting money is too strenuous), send updates on saving goals, and alert the owner if someone tampers with it.
7. June Oven
What It Does: A smart oven that knows what you’re cooking.
A smart oven isn’t inherently a bad idea. I’m sure we’ve all burned at least one dinner in our lives after getting distracted by something.
But an oven with built-in HD camera so you can watch what you’re making? What’s wrong with just peeking through the door?
8. Quirky Refuel
What It Does: Monitors your propane tank so you don’t run out of gas mid-barbecue.
The Quirky Refuel is one of the more sensible ideas on this list, but that doesn’t mean it’s not weird.
The device clasps around the neck of your gas tank and will send you a smartphone alert when you’re getting low. It can handle tanks of up to 20 pounds.
What It Does: A smart water bottle that reminds you to drink regularly.
Okay, those last two gadgets were far too sensible, let’s get back to being weird.
Hidrate Spark is a $55 Bluetooth-enabled water bottle that will remind you to drink water at regular intervals. You know, just in case you don’t recognize that feeling of extreme thirst in the back of your throat.
On the plus side, it does look pretty when it glows…
10. Belty Good Vibes
What It Does: A smart belt that helps you lead a healthier lifestyle.
Nothing is safe from the smart revolution. Want proof? One manufacturer has deemed that we all need a smart belt.
Visit the website, and you’ll see one of the device’s key selling points is that it will “change your life simply by breathing.” I’ll say no more.
What? You do want to learn more? Okay, well it costs $395. Still keen?
11. Sensoria Socks
What It Does: A pair of smart socks, like a fitness band for your feet.
At $199, the Sensoria Socks are probably some of the most expensive foot garments in the world. Just make sure you don’t put a hole in them.
They can do all the usual fitness band stuff like count steps and monitor calories burned, but they can also give feedback on your foot landing technique and cadence.
If that’s the kind of stuff that keeps you awake at night, these socks are money well-spent.
What It Does: A smart coffee table.
I know what you’re thinking. A smart coffee table is going to monitor stuff like food and drink intake, time spent with your feet up, and how many biscuits you dunk in your tea.
Wrong. Sobro has a refrigerator, two USB ports, two power outlets, Bluetooth speakers, touchscreen controls and colorful LED lights.
Useful? Maybe. But at this point, is it even still a coffee table?
What It Does: A “discreet” way to message loved ones.
If you’re in a secretive relationship, you might want to communicate in with your loved one in a discreet fashion since WhatsApp and SMS could be too risky.
If the manufacturer is to be believed, you need a Lovebox. When you get a message, the lid lifts up and the red heart on the front starts spinning.
Because it seems nothing says “discreet” quite like a spinning bright red heart.
What It Does: Shields your phone conversations from curious ears.
The HushMe connects to your phone and covers your mouth. No one will be able to see or hear what you’re saying to other people.
But if you don’t fancy walking around with a human version of a dog muzzle covering your face all day, you could always try whispering instead.
What It Does: A smart hairbrush developed by L’Oréal and Kerastase.
When did you learn to brush your hair? I’d imagine it was around the same time you learned to tie your shoelaces and tell the time.
However, it seems L’Oréal and Kerastase think we all need a helping hand. The Hair Coach has three microphones, accelerometer, and gyroscope, all of which combine to give you “brushing tips” in the accompanying smartphone app.
Thanks, but no thanks.
Share Your Weirdest Smart Home Gadgets
There you have it. The 15 weirdest smart devices you can find anywhere in the world right now.
If this article has opened your eyes to some of the horrors of the smart home world for the first time, consider this: we are only just witnessing the start of the smart home revolution. Think things look weird now? Let’s talk again in another decade!
Which devices and gadgets have you stumbled across that deserve a mention? As always, you can leave your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below.
Image Credits: Kues/Shutterstock