Connected Objects Home

Smart Iron makes a steamy case for connected appliances

It seems just yesterday that pioneering products such as the Nest and Philips Hue were tying household objects that we take for granted to the smartphone for some concrete benefits. But now the adding of connectivity has become somewhat mundane.

Take, for example, the Smart Iron. While most products have an accelerometer to detect when they move, the smart iron uses it to detect when it’s stopped moving to start off a countdown to automatic shut off.

Smartphone users can also use its companion app to set the iron’s temperature and be notified when the iron reaches it. If that doesn’t seem like world-beating features, consider that the product is something of a proof of concept for Meta Innovation’s Meta Box platform, which the company plans to integrate into a range of similarly simple appliances.

Apparel Running

JogTog+ wrap holds the phone, covers buns for women on runs

Running is a favorite activity for fitness enthusiasts. It requires no expensive gym membership and is a great way to stay in shape. Just leave the house and go. The only thing is that it’s hard to store keys, music players and other accessories in those tight workout clothes that are all the rage nowadays.

JogTog+ is like a personal mud flap for runners. This wrap fits around the waist and hips and ties at the front, so it fits all sizes and comes in different colors. It has reflective pieces on the back for maximum visibility. With three pockets, you can store snacks, a wallet, music player and keys conveniently and securely. JogTog+ also features a small hole for earbuds to fit through.

JogTog+ elaborates upon existing exercise clothes that have pockets. With multiple pockets, it spreads out the weight of accessories so that nothing is bouncing up and down too heavily. If it just ties, however, the creators may want to consider a stronger method of security. One will cost backers $30 for estimated delivery in March 2015. JogTog+ is hoping to raise $10,000 on Kickstarter.


DryAway hides away as a tall laundry drying wall insert

The Premise.  Everyone has to do laundry, but the process of washing and drying clothes is incredibly expensive and can be damaging to items of clothes. To preserve their items, many families are turning to air drying – it’s more economical and doesn’t cause shrinkage. But there isn’t really a sturdy, compact device that provides adequate clothes-drying space.

The Product. DryAway seeks to replace “traditional” laundry hanging racks with something more slender. The company has developed a permanent fixtures that can be tucked away into the space next to the machines or in a closet. Essentially, DryAway consists of tall, bamboo frames with adjustable hanging rods. The frames are mounted onto tracks, which then can be pushed backwards. No unsightly mess and the clothes go out of the way while drying. It’s a similar design to those ultra-thin “pantries” that can be built in next to the refrigerator.

The Pitch. The premise-heavy video spends a lot of time talking about all of the other options that are available and not painting them in a great light, obviously. The campaign page shows DryAway in all of its multiple configuration glory embedded into a wall or available in a standalone closet scenario. Inventor Jim Lutz reads that the product, which now has its own Web site, took four years to develop.

The Perks. To get a DrayAway of one’s own, prepare to slide over $445 for the system. Obviously a set like this is going to cost, but that seems a little excessive, especially when it seems someone with basic handyman skills could replicate the system for less than that. As might be expected of a custom-installed product, the proposition isn’t about a box showing up at your doorstep. If you live within 100 miles of Milwaukee (and why wouldn’t you?),  the project team will install DryAway at your home if you send them the measurements of the space that it will fill. Otherwise, they recommend use of a contractor.

The Potential. DryAway offers discreet high capacity although most consumers probably don’t hang dry all of their clothes and wouldn’t need something this extensive. It does make good use of dead space in laundry rooms and seems to be an environmentally superior option. But it seems anyone who might be able to invest in this probably isn’t worried about the cost of drying their clothes. There seems to be a big middle ground between the flimsy drying stands mocked in the DryAway video and hundreds of dollars for something that’s a custom installation.


Laundreez gets clothes clean without the machine

The Premise. Washing clothes while away from home can be a chore. Sometimes machines aren’t accessible. When when they are, the cost usually renders the effort pointless, and most times you just don’t have the downtime to spend a few hours inside waiting for the spin cycle to loosen its grip on your unmentionables.

The Product. Designed for travel, Laundreez is a waterproof laundry bag that allows you to clean clothes as effectively as a washing machine. Featuring an outer PVC wash bag, an inner nylon mesh bag, and a screw-on filler cap, you simply fill the mesh bag with dirty clothes, insert into the outer bag and secure by folding and clipping the outer bag closed. Add water by unscrewing the filler cap, then screw back on and agitate Laundreez for a few minutes to hand wash your clothes without actually getting wet.

The Pitch. An anonymous British man presents the main pitch for Laundreez in a concise and pretty humorous video. Explaining that in addition to being able to wash clothes while on-the-go, Laundreez also allows travelers to pack less clothing. This makes travel lighter and possibly even cheaper after factoring in weight-related baggage fees popular when traveling by air. Other applications for Laundreez include use as a dry-bag when at the beach or boating, and even a convenient way to store and chill your favorite beverages during transport. The page continues past the video to explain the initial design, adjustments made and the process of getting a second prototype, which will likely not be the last prototype before initial production begins. Project goal over 35 days is £18,000, equivalent to about $30,000.

The Perks. Material rewards start at £14 which secures you one of the first 2,500 Laundreez (which one must assume is the plural). All backers will receive Laundreez for a discount, as the final product is expected to retail in May 2014 for £20.

The Potential. Laundreez looks handy, but may be used more commonly as a tote for after-swimming items — especially for vacationing families with small children. Still, it’s a practical option, especially for longer trips involving air travel where luggage restrictions seem to increase daily. The Scrubba is a similar concept wash bag developed by an Australian company, which retails today for $65 with free shipping to the U.S., netting out at a little less than double the cost of Laundreez.