7 weird IoT applications

Sherly Mendoza -November 07, 2014

The Internet of Things (IoT) involves a lot of technologies that provide it with immense potential. This also forces manufacturers to be creative and innovative, because that is one of the ways for them to make sure their application, product, or service succeeds. With all that potential and creativity in play, perhaps it is not surprising that every now and then you will come across an application that is simply weird.

Here are some of the weirdest Internet of Things products I have seen recently.

1. SteadyServ tells you when you are running out of beer. If you run a pub, a bar, or a tavern, one of the worst things that can happen to you is running dry when there is a thirsty crowd. SteadyServ has come out with an IoT product that allows you to know when you are running short of a particular brand of beer, when you need to re-order, and some other things that could help you plan your supply and inventory. For example, it lets you know what brands of beer are most popular at your place, and which ones are not doing quite as well. It also keeps track of when your beers were delivered.

The iKeg system. (Source: SteadyServ)

SteadyServ uses sensors to gather information about your kegs. The sensors send all of these data on to the cloud and you get a mobile app that helps you make sense of the data you gather.

What's more, SteadyServ also pairs the information you gather with the historical information you have, so that you would know whether or not you are selling more beers now or before, and tells you about the beer consumption rates of bars, pubs, and taverns near you. It also throws in weather forecasts, so that you would know whether it will snow in the next few days and expect fewer people to come in.

2. The Random Hall Bathroom Server tells you where the nearest vacant bathroom is. OK, so maybe managing beer inventory is not that weird, but this next idea is in our book. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology created the system to keep track of which of the Random Hall dormitory's bathrooms are vacant, and (here's the best part) for how long.

So if you do not want to encounter some funky smell when you visit the dorm's facilities, you can choose one that has been vacant for at least minutes, better yet, hours or days.

MIT also keeps track of the dormitory’s washers and dryers, telling you which ones are available. You can even give your email address and be alerted when a certain washer or dryer is available for use.

3. Telegarden. Ah, the joys of gardening. Nothing beats being able to grow plants from seeds as a way to de-stress and relax. But what if you live in an area that does not have gardening spaces available for you? Well, then, hope that telegarden technology takes off.

Here is how telegardens work: The garden comes equipped with a robotic arm. The robotic arm is connected to the Internet, and you can log in to plant seeds on the telegarden no matter where you are in the world. No need for you to get your hands dirty and you get to plant your cabbage right next to the carrots that somebody in Japan planted!

The Telegarden. (Source: Berkeley)

4. No more hot dogs. Rethink Toronto has come up with a system that includes a thermistor sensor, a SIM card, and a chip that monitors your pooch's temperature. The idea is that if your dog is nearing heat exhaustion, the system will send you a text message to alert you.

5. Happy satisfied cats. When you travel, you would need somebody to feed your cats for you. But what if your friends and family are not able to do that? Just hope that Cisco's Internet-enabled cat feeder pushes through. You can have the feeder dispense food into your cat's food bowl when you tell it too. And you can have a Web camera show you when it is done. This ensure that your cat will be happy and full as you take selfies in Paris, or have some summer fun in Bali.

6. Heart monitor. Corventis has a heart monitor that you can place on your chest. This will help hospitals, healthcare providers, and other authorities get alerted if you have a heart attack or if you suffered from arrhythmia and fell down.

Corventis' NUVANT Mobile Cardiac Telemetry system. (Source: Corventis)

7. No more diaper rashes. If you could use sensors to monitor the heart, you could also use it to monitor diapers. 24eight, a startup company, is doing just that, putting chips into diapers that sends a SMS message to parents when they need to change their baby's diapers. The good news is that it does not cost much; you need to add only two cents to the cost of normal diapers to get the smart ones.

We are bound to see even more weird IoT products out there as the market evolved. Sensors and connectivity extend the functionality of everyday objects and make it easier for you to keep track of things and monitor environments, without having to spend too much for it.

What strange IoT products have you come across?

Sherly Mendoza is a banker by profession since 2005, but she's been blogging and writing tech articles since 2012. She's a woman fascinated with all things related to technology, gadgets, the Internet, fashion, health and lifestyle. She's a Mac and PC user. Sherly is teaching herself how to use the cPanel for website management. She's also fascinated with the Internet of Things, its applications and potentials. Sherly maintains her portfolio and blog at http://www.TechyFashionista.com.

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