15 Dumb and Dumberer Gadgets
From light bulbs to Barbie dolls, electronics are being integrated into almost everything to make them “smart,” so that we can interact with them from our phones, or from around the world. But just because something can be made smart doesn’t mean it should. Here are some of the stupidest smart devices we’ve found.
Smart Water Bottles
The health and wellness category has been rife with snake oil gadgets and schemes to help you lose weight or get in shape. There are a surprising number of “smart” water bottles that will track how much water you drink—Thermos, Trago, H20Pal and Hidrate are but a few, and all cost more than $50. For a water bottle! Guess what? You already have an app telling you to drink more water. It’s called thirst.
Kerastase Hair Coach by Withings
This gadget, due out in the fall (price TBD), is supposed to tell you if you’re brushing your hair correctly. Honestly, if you have trouble brushing your hair, you should probably just shave your head.
Griffin Connected Toaster
You don’t need an app to tell you when your toast is burned, nor do you need to spend $99 on this toaster, due out this year. Making toast is about as difficult as boiling water. If you can’t do this without the help of an app, then just order takeout for the rest of your life.
Smart Trash Cans
A truly smart trash can would be able to empty itself. There were two smart trash cans announced this year: the GeniCan ($149) and the Eugene ($99). Neither can do that. Instead, they tell you, with some effort, what you’re throwing out so you can order it again. If you spend more than $20 on a trash can, you’re just throwing your money away.
Oombrella Connected Umbrella
This Indiegogo umbrella, which will cost you around $70, changes color when it rains. You know what also changes color when it rains? The sky.
Quirky Egg Minder Wink App Enabled Smart Egg Tray
This $12 tray tells you how many eggs you have in your fridge. For some reason, it holds 14 eggs, which is not how eggs are actually sold. I hope the investors in this device didn’t put all their eggs in this one basket.
This $65 fork alerts you if it thinks you’re eating too fast. If there were only an app that would have alerted you to not buy this.
Welt Smart Belt
This $149 belt, which has a built-in fitness tracker, can count your steps and sitting time during the day. It also knows when you’re getting fatter, as if you didn’t have other clues.
Jagger & Lewis’ Smart Dog Collar
People will spend ridiculous amounts of money on frivolous things for their pets, so why not a $220 collar that will tell you if your dog is depressed? Buy Fido a box of chew toys instead.
Moen U Smart Shower
Why suffer the indignity of waiting in your skivvies for your shower to heat up? Fire up an app on your phone, and this $1,160 plumbing fixture will get the temperature juuuust right.
Home and Pet Surveillance Robot
Strap your iPad onto this $999 robot, and you can wheel it around your house using your phone, so you can terrify check in on your pets and family members. You can pretend to be Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, only he's got a PhD.
There are several smart toothbrushes, all of which claim to help keep your pearly whites cleaner by, among other things, taking pictures of your mouth as you brush. Gross. The least expensive of these — the Grush — costs $59, but others, like the ONVI Prophix, cost upward of $200. You can buy a lot of dental floss for that.
Another “first-world problem” gadget, this $150 kettle boils water, and sends an alert to your smartphone when it’s up to temperature. If you need your phone to help you boil water, then you should just go back to bed. On the other hand, it’ll look nice next to your connected toaster.
This $20 accessory will let your child use your iPad while they learn to use the toilet. Is that what you want to be teaching them? Does it come with disinfectant?
iSommelier Smart Decanter
A good wine needs to “breathe” before it’s ready to drink. Basically, that means exposing it to air for a while. You can do this by pouring the bottle into a $25 decanter, or you can spend $1,500 on this contraption instead. “It is a revolutionary investment for any wine connoisseur,” boasts the company, which has found a revolutionary new way to empty your wallet.