Welcome to Gadget Dreams and Nightmares, the column that pores over the most intriguing gadget announcements and crowdfunding projects both frightful and delightful.
In our sleigh this time around are a smart padlock for deliveries, a bourbon decanter with a twist, and an anti-snoring eye mask.
As always, these are not reviews. Instead, I use my analytical skills to determine just how much I’d like to use each product, and assign them an appropriate rating.
Lock It Up
BoxLock Home is a smart padlock designed to allow delivery persons to leave your packages in a secure place when you’re not around.
The driver scans the package and goes through a verification process to unclasp the lock and place your package inside the container. Of course, you’ll get a notification when the process is complete.
I’m not really sure I need it. I work from home and am usually around to take in deliveries. If not, I always have the option of collecting them from a nearby dropoff point.
That said, the last two times I’ve placed an Amazon order, I’ve been home when the package was delivered. My home office is maybe 40 feet from the front door. It takes me maybe 15 seconds to reach it from my chair. Each time, the driver left the package by the door and was already in the van by the time I got there.
Sure, that’s in part down to Amazon’s much-discussed last-mile complications and the use of contracted, paid-per-delivery drivers — but I’d rather not have a box lying in clear view of everyone on the street.
So, the padlock with a secure box might not be a bad idea. At the very least, it’s far preferable to allowing delivery persons to enter my home to leave the package, as Amazon has suggested we do.
Rating: 4 out of 5 Safe and Secures
Make Mine a Double
Right now, there’s an almost-full bottle of Jim Beam taunting me from my top liquor shelf. I’d much rather have it inside Jim, a smart decanter from the nectar’s manufacturer.
What sets this decanted apart is one can say “Jim, pour me a drink,” and the voice-recognition software will put into motion the series of events that make just that happen. Bliss.
It can answer other questions, but seemingly only in glib fashion — it won’t be able to tell you the weather forecast or order a cab.
While it’s without question a marketing gimmick (and, apparently, the 3G voice function will expire after six months), it has a decent aesthetic and should work just fine as a regular decanter.
At US$35, it’s a decent deal. Just don’t say anything if I decide to use it for Jack Daniels or Scotch instead.
Rating: 5 out of 5 Pour Me Anothers
Snore Circle is a connected eye mask that — you guessed it — tries to work some magic to cut down on those earth-shattering noises one makes in the middle of the night.
When it detects snoring through bone conduction and sound recognition, it gets to work, applying vibrations that seemingly lessen or completely stop those nighttime roars by stimulating the brain into tightening one’s airway
There is, of course, an accompanying sleep-tracking app. This should help determine how effective the mask is at combating snoring and pinpoint exactly how many snores it’s stopped, compared to the number of 4 a.m. sharp elbows one receives from one’s partner.
I snore terribly, or so I’m told, so I’m happy to try something that should help both of us get a better night’s sleep.
Rating: 5 out of 5 Sweeter Dreams