Just when you thought your baby was safe from my probably-irrational fears of the proliferation of facial recognition technology comes word that Pampers will soon be launching a smart diaper. Yes, you read that correctly.
Lumi by Pampers Connected Baby System, which is projected to be released in the U.S. sometime this fall, uses a baby monitor and activity sensor to track, in real-time, wet diapers and sleep patterns.
The Logitech HD 1080p video monitor with night vision enables parents to watch their baby through the app from anywhere, according to a video product release by Pampers. Data from the app, delivered daily and weekly, can monitor feeding, sleeping, and diaper changing routines.
Here’s the part of the announcement that made me wonder how far companies need to go to get to know the people who use their products: a CNN report quotes a Pampers company spokesperson saying the Lumi app account information will include a baby’s name, sex, date of birth, and a 24-hour video archive.
And, like most new tech-centric products that fool people into giving up their personal information but not fully hatching a plan to protect that information, there’s a waiting list to buy Lumi. I’m sure the Pampers people have fully considered all the long-term ramifications of collecting this data, right?
Do Trash Cans Need Brains?
Perhaps the only good news when it comes to Lumi is the folks at Knectek Labs have invented a trash can that’ll ensure you never again have to ask yourself, or anyone else, “what’s that smell?”
The gadget, called townew, not only seals in odors; it also seals and changes the trash bag for you. All you have to do is press a button, wait a few seconds for townew to seal the bag, then toss it in the dumpster while townew replaces the bag—all for the low price of $70.
“Townew is also smart enough to detect when the trash can is overflowing…and will lift the entire top compartment in order to seal the bag without any spillage,” according to the promo materials hyping it as a good idea.
The “smart” trash can also allows users to open the lid by waving their hands in front of it. Of course, anyone who’s visited a public restroom knows these wave-to-operate technology always works exactly right when you’re trying to wash your hands—or dry your hands.
I don’t love touching trash, but I feel like we’re becoming lazier every day when I hear about things like this. Technology has certainly made my life easier in many ways, including never getting lost anymore thanks to GPS and always knowing if the Red Sox are winning.
But I just don’t see the need for a trash bag that seals itself. Have we forgotten how to tie the bags ourselves—or just decided we’re not going to do it anymore? Maybe these are the jobs we want technology to do in place of humans, rather than customer service type of tasks?
It’s amazing how many products like this I read about every day. What are some of the other “smart” products you’ve seen that didn’t really need a brain and were better off without them?