Home Calm, cruel and connected: April’s best and worst of IoT

Calm, cruel and connected: April’s best and worst of IoT

It’s a tech party and IoT is everywhere right now – loud, noisy and on the dance floor with a tie around its head.

With so much energy in being devoted to tell us how, when, where, what we can connect to each other, the “why” may be getting a little blurry. So we want to take a step back every now and take a critical look at the connected devices that actually go out and buy, right now.

(Ed note: We also do a round-up of crowdfunding ideas you can’t quite get yet…or possibly should never be able to get.)

Here’s what caught our eye, for all the right – or wrong – reasons:

The Best of…..

Bios incube


Whatever your views on the existence of the afterlife, reality is that cemetery space is becoming a crowded, expensive, commodity. The alternative cremation results in the question of how to deal with the ashes, with the options not  all that appealing, especially if you’ve already been to a scattering of ashes where the wind blew them back in the faces of the bereaved.

Now there’s another option thanks to Bios Incube, a biodegradable urn containing a tree seed in which you can place the ashes and monitor remotely. According to the manufacturers, “the urn provides proper germination and later growth of the tree, based on a person or pet’s ashes. In this way, death becomes a transformation and return to life by means of nature”. The Bios Incube is a step up the from the creators earlier device of simply a seed and a biodegradable urn, and it is designed to  facilitate growth, and enables you to track and monitor your Bios Urn. A corresponding mobile app tells you how your tree is growing, and when necessary, provide advice for maintenance…because surely there’d be nothing worse than planting a loved one’s ashes with a growing tree only to have it die on you, too?


Cloud: Smart


The Cloud is “an interactive speaker/lamp designed to mimic a thunderstorm in both sound and light. Functions include: streaming music via Bluetooth, music visualization, motion sensing & creating ambient light displays.” Think of it as a self-indulgent piece of interactive art. That makes the $3,360 price tag more palatable.




When you’re from a family of chronic snorers and you’ve all spent time in sleep clinics to no avail, a product that not only aims to prevent snoring  but is also backed by sleep scientists is very appealing. Nora is a wireless device that detects the early sounds of snoring then gently moves your head by activating a padded insert in your pillow case. The insert is inflated and the movement treats the cause of snoring, the relaxed throat muscles, allowing the airway to clear and the breathing to continue. The $259 price is far cheaper than renting an apartment with a spare bedroom.

…and the worst


Peggy is a smart clothes peg bought to you by detergent-maker Omo. It measures temperature and humidity with a corresponding app that helps you decide when you dry your clothes outside. Note to Peggy users: Go outside. Just for a while. You probably won’t die.



Cold-pressed juice has become smart thanks to Juicero. Juicing is no longer about chopping up some fresh fruit and extracting the juice. Instead you have to buynot only the juicer but also a subscription to space age-like single serve packages of diced fruit and vegetables which when added to the machine will give you one glass of juice. Where does the IoT come in? According to the website:

“Connectivity is a key component of the Juicero system. Being connected to the internet ensures that you have the latest updates and that your Press is operating optimally. Once everything is synced, you’ll be able to rely on the app to see which Packs you’ve consumed and which ones still remain. To ensure you’re drinking the highest quality juice, the app will also notify you when Packs are about to expire.” In case that’s not enough to tempt you, “you’ll always know which nutrients you’re consuming and which farm grew each ingredient.”


At $700 for the juicer and  the requisite juice packs at $5 each, the local artisan bio-cafe is looking a lot more accessible. When did cutting an orange in half become too hard?

The Control Freak


The mere name of this product makes me think of A-type personalities who use their kitchen more for storing take-out sushi chopsticks than actual food prep. Yes, The Control Freak is actually the name of this stove top, a collaboration between Breville and Polyscience, who assert:

“It’s the first of its kind to accurately measure, set and hold 397 cooking temperatures from 86°-482°F. The unique real-time sensing system uses a through-glass sensor to directly measure surface temperature. Probe Control™ remote thermometer to precisely control the temperature of both water and fat-based liquids.”

Once you’ve seen the magic you can do with an old battered wok over a flame, the price of $1,799.95 is laughable. Perhaps learning to cook with the stuff in your kitchen already is a better start.

Has a product caught your eye or horrified your soul? Email us your own best and worst and my favorites will get a mention.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

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