Smart vs common sense
I like my gadgets as much as (or more probably more than) the next person. However looking through all the announcements at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas I can’t help thinking some are a triumph of ingenuity over common sense. While we can automate a lot of our lives, there are some things that we should be doing intrinsically through common sense rather than relying on electronics. There are genuine innovations at CES (the Plastic Logic PaperTab ultra thin tablet springs immediately to mind), a lot of bigger and better TVs but it is the wacky gadgets which attracted my attention.
I’ve previously moaned about Google Glasses as most of us are lucky enough to have eyes which do a similar job a lot more cheaply. As well as optical technology, CES also sees a whole range of other ‘firsts’ designed to make our lives easier. Here’s a round up of five I found particularly pointless……..
A phone you can use in the bath
One of the few places we can’t use our smartphones is in water, but for those that can’t exist without them while in the shower, Sony is introducing the bath-friendly Xperia Z smartphone. Though if it encourages geeks to wash more, it could be a positive move……..
The intelligent fork
Rushing your food? Tired of being admonished by his wife for wolfing down his food, French inventor Jacques Lepine invented the Hapifork. If you eat too quickly the smart fork buzzes to tell you to slow down and is being marketed as a way to tackle weight gain. Instead, why not just focus on your food and make conversation while eating to avoid guzzling your grub?
The Android Oven
Staying in the kitchen Dacor’s cooker has an 7 inch display and runs the Android operating system that lets you pull up recipes and then adjusts the cooking time to match. All fine so far, but what happens if you get the recipe slightly wrong and it frazzles your dinner while you’re busy playing Angry Birds?
Monitor your plants from afar
The Parrot Flower Power is a Bluetooth monitoring tool that you put in the soil next to one of your prized plants. It then sends messages to your iPad on the nutrients in the soil, ambient temperature and if your plant is in trouble. Again, a pair of eyes, a watering can and reading the label that comes with the plant should be a lot simpler – at least until they develop a version that automatically electrocutes aphids without you needing to spray……….
Find your missing luggage (sort of)
Arriving at a different airport to your luggage is a major inconvenience. Pop the Trakdot, a card-sized tracking device into your bag and it will use mobile phone technology to let you know where it is – and it even shuts down in flight to avoid crashing the plane. However while it might prove your luggage is in Paris, Texas when you’re in Paris, France it doesn’t actually get it back to you any quicker.
I’m sure we’ll see some of these gadgets hit the shops in 2013, but hopefully common sense will prevail over technology and people will keep using their eyes, ears and hands to interact with the world around them, rather than leaving it to a computer…………
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