5 things you never would have thought could be so smart

We all know the web is smart, and new-fangled technologies are increasingly allowing us to do the impossible. What many people may not know is that everyday objects that once sat dormant can now also be intelligent. The Internet of Things (IoT) and Smart Home revolution has seen to it that the most banal of household objects and devices are ‘rewired’ with a new kind of intelligence. You’ve heard about the fridge that knows when milk needs to be added to the shopping list, or the smart home heating systems on the market. Now for some of the most superb, and sometimes strange, new IoT inventions:

Intelligent three-pointers

It mightn’t turn aspiring basket ballers into instant slam dunk stars like Kobe or Jordan, but a new more intelligent basketball could help lift players’ games. Speed, spin, number of dribbles, arc and acceleration of the ball are measured through a series of sensors in the ball. Players using the 94Fifty smart ball can check their stats after a session on the court from their iOS or Android smartphone via an app.

Smartphone camera recycle scheme

Since tablets and smartphones are so common (66% of British adults own one), they could very much be viewed as the norm – an everyday object that many of us feel we couldn’t live without. A new complete home surveillance solution by Smartfrog gives new life to old smartphones, tablets and laptops, letting users repurpose their old smartphone cameras as surveillance cams. A free app for iOS and Android smartphones allows anybody to see inside their home at any time, and receive alerts if unusual motion is detected. Just when we thought smartphones couldn’t get any smarter…

No time for nappies

University of Tokyo researchers Pixie Scientific have created a ‘smart diaper’ this year, which if it hits shelves could be a saviour for parents of small children. The humble nappy could be replaced by one that senses if it needs to be changed, if the baby is dehydrated or at risk of developing type one diabetes or a UTI. All this information then can be accessed via a QR code with Mum or Dad’s smartphone. Now if only the Internet could take over the task of changing the nappies…

Intelligent flora

Flowerpots have always looked nice, and blooms within them often smell nice, but past that many would argue they aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed. Until now, that is, with a company having developed an Internet-connected flowerpot. Instead of fussing with watering cans and household or office rosters to water plants, the chore of keeping a plan alive can be delegated to a connected device within the pot that measures the moisture of the soil, fertiliser, ambient temperature and light levels. Users of the Parrot Pot can monitor their plant’s wellbeing via the smartphone app – but more intelligent life growing out of these pots is unfortunately not yet on the table…

Higher intelligence afoot

How socks go missing is one of life’s great mysteries – sometimes odd socks turn up behind the couch, in the garden or under the bed, or sometimes rolled up with another coloured partner. Now there is a smart solution for keeping socks together. The Plus+ socks from Blacksocks have RFID chips that report back to an iPhone app. They ensure the right socks are paired with one another and alert the wearer if new socks are needed. Essential purchase? Perhaps not, but fun all the same and definitely something for those who constantly find themselves wearing odd socks.