Some people dream of a "connected" home filled with the chiming voices of machines instead of people. "Smart objects" talking to one another, lights blinking and alerts beeping as they automate the domestic work you can't quite be bothered to do. Tech evangelists cite endlessly the projection that by 2020 there will be 6.4 billion connected ‘things’
, many of which will be in the home.
But for others, the idea of a "smart home" is a dystopian nightmare: every connected object brings another means of harvesting data, and another corporation to sell it on to. We welcome surveillance into our homes, and pay for the privilege. And every device offering out-of-the-box omniscience is hackable, from smartphone doorbells
to baby monitors
(appropriated as the plot for a lurid –but believable – episode of CSI Cyber called ‘Kidnapping 2.0’
From self-watering plants to camera-equipped vacuums, we wonder whether the effort of keeping up with smart tech can sometimes outweigh the effort of using normal, not-connected household appliances. Here, we’ve rounded up fourteen of the weirdest "connected" home appliances, and explained what they do, so you can decide for yourselves how smart they are.