Internet of Things: who’s going to look after my plants and pets while I’m away?

- August 29, 2017

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the inter-networking of physical devices and places with the internet. A wide range of IoT applications has been introduced in recent years in areas where technology could easily fulfil several needs. Products abound for smart homes (electronic meters, thermostats, lighting, refrigeration and locking devices, etc.), smart cities (waste management, parking management, etc.) and smart plants (automatic procedures). Experts believe, however, that the IoT is just getting started, considering the growing number of new applications on the market.

This article takes a light-hearted look at some of the most unusual IoT applications. As you can see, the possibilities are only limited by one’s imagination.

Distance gardening

The Telegarden was developed at the University of Southern California to view and interact with a remote garden filled with living plants. Members can plant, water, and monitor the progress of seedlings via the tender movements of an industrial robot arm.

Smart washrooms

Students at MIT wired a dorm’s washrooms and created a Website to see which stalls are available or in use and for how long.

Automatic feeding technology

If you have a pet, you know you need someone to look after it when you’re away. What if family or friends aren’t available? You can now get a remote operated food dispenser with a webcam to manage your pet’s feeding schedule. You’ll know kitty is happy at home while you’re taking selfies in Paris.

Baby care

A New York company has created a wireless diaper, with a cellular sensor that lets Mom or Dad know when it’s time for a diaper change.

Pill bottles

A smart pill bottle app has been developed that can be adapted for prescription medication bottle caps to let patients know if they’ve taken their meds at the prescribed times. The caps connect wirelessly to a base station, and the cap lights up if the patient hasn’t taken his or her pill within 30 minutes of the prescribed time. If the bottle isn’t open after an hour, an alarm rings. After two hours, a text or phone message is sent.

These are but some of the hundreds of IoT examples on the Internet. While some may seem frivolous, others could potentially improve many people’s quality of life. Will you have the next IoT brainstorm?

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