Smart watches are trendy. Smart thermostats are popular. But what else can you do with IoT technology? Whether you’re a tech­lover, lazy, or like trying new things, smart gear is able to do a lot more than track your calorie goals.

The Practical

413115-Goji-Smart-LockGoji: Home security is important, and we are tired of the whole lock­and­key routine. There has to be something better than just heavy metal bolts. Smart locks like Goji let you use your phone as a key, whether you’re at the door or across town. Here’s why Goji is special: it can send you picture alerts. Goji will automatically take a picture of visitors and send them to your phone. Second, you can grant access to anyone with a supported smartphone just by selecting a date and time with the Goji app.

Bg_DevicecollageBodyGuardian: You know FitBit, Nike FuelBand and the dozens of other fitness trackers… but there is a whole other equally important use for smart watches: actual health monitoring. BodyGuardian was approved earlier this year by the FDA and monitors vital signs like heart rate and EKG rhythms. Small, wireless and Bluetooth­compatible, the BodyGuardian syncs up with Samsung tablets to share up­to­date information. This means not only better monitoring, but the ability to respond to signs of cardiac arrest, and to better analyze a person’s physical health and state. We also love the Tempo watch, which acts as a “rhythm journal” so you can keep a close watch on loved ones.

1407495417--ExplodedDrop ­Kitchen Scale: Baking is fun, right? What about those of us that don’t really like measuring, being precise, and are generally bad at following directions? Drop makes sure you don’t screw up your recipes with improper measuring. The scale automatically weighs itself as your pour in each ingredient. Connected with the Drop app, it let’s you know when you are ready to move on to the next ingredient.

The Fun

Wemo-Smart-CrockpotWeMo Smart CrockPot: WeMo has been making oodles of fun smart appliances, and this is just the best. As if using a crock pot wasn’t easy enough, it just got so much better. If you’re away, you can start your slow cooker, turn the temperature up, down, or whatever you might need. Who doesn’t want to come home to the aroma of freshly cooked dinner?

Parrot-PotParrot Pot: This flower pot is equipped with a water­ sensor to automatically water your plants when they’re thirsty. With a 2.2L reservoir, it can take care of plants for up to a month, giving you peace of mind and happy plants. The machine can even switch to conservation mode when there is little water left. With a database of several thousand plants, and sensors to observe light and heat, it definitely knows more about how to take care of your plants than you do.

Belkin-WemoBelkin WeMo: Currently billed as the crowd ­favorite smart­-plug, it can replace a host of other costly “smart” items simply by plugging into normal machines. Rather than investing some hundred dollars on a coffee machine specifically because it’s “smart,” why not buy a smart plug and attach it to your favorite coffee maker? You can then use the WeMo app from your android or iPhone to track your energy usage, or brew a cup of coffee. It’s even Amazon Echo compatible.

MatSmartMat: Yoga has become increasingly widespread and popular these days, leaving a trail of both enthusiasm and injuries in its wake. Improper Practice doesn’t just mean you’re ineffective, it can mean real damage for your body. The SmartMat is a yoga mat equipped with pressure sensors to sense not just which pose you are doing, but how your weight is distributed. These sensors hook up to an app that can give you the full details on your movements. It can also lead you through a full class, complete with real­time feedback, or go into silent mode, tracking your moves for you to analyze later.

The Brand Spanking New

Heddoko-Smart-ClothingHeddoko Smartwear: Want to work out properly? Heddoko clothing gives you 3D visuals of your movements. Real­time instruction and feedback as well as movement analysis mean this could be incredibly useful for athletes, coaches, and physical therapists everywhere. Hook it up to the Heddoko app and see how your body moves. Heddoko is still in testing but, golly, we cannot wait to try it out.

Mycroft-Iot-HubMycroft: There are oodles of smart home devices. There’s the Apple HomeKit and Ivee (both of which suffer from less than stellar reviews), as well as the popular Amazon Echo. Automating your entire home is, perhaps, not something we are totally prepared for. It’s a work in progress.

Unfortunately, hubs like Apple’s HomeKit are going to geared towards Apple products, means lots of complications down the road. So, what’s so exciting about Mycroft? It’s open source. When it comes to new technology, you do not want to be trapped into using apps and tech from only one company. Combining Arduino and Raspberry Pi, who could ask for more?

Vinli-Complete--Gray-FrontVinli: This little box transforms any car into a 4G LTE­connected smart(er) machine. While plenty of apps exist to connect your phone to your car, this cuts the phone out of the equation and hooks directly to your car. By plugging into the OBD­II (Onboard vehicle diagnostic), the Vinli can track just about anything and is limited only by the apps developers can dream up. With more and more phone companies investing in Vinli and jumping on board, we are keeping a close on eye on this baby.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the wearables ­craze, or think that IoT is only good for giving us more environmentally helpful light bulbs, and smart washing machines. IoT is changing the way we think about, well, everything. From health, to hobbies, to money and the environment, interconnected tech provides real, practical opportunities. Besides, how can we not get excited about the adorable open source Mycroft, or the possibility of the Drop scale saving us from baking disasters?

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