Author: Jeremy Losaw

A Good Trash Talking

Smart device for garbage cans helps in building grocery lists   Until recently, hearing a voice from a trash can was a serious cause for concern—unless it was Oscar the Grouch on “Sesame Street.” Now it’s a smarter way to add to your grocery list. Connecticut inventor Rob Griffin sees the garbage can as a valued part of the home ecosystem that can help families be more efficient. His new product, GeniCan, is a smart device for garbage cans that helps build your weekly grocery list by tracking the products you have used as you dispose of them. The device mounts to household garbage or recycling bins, and has a bar code reader with wireless connectivity. The user scans the barcode of the item before throwing it out, and GeniCan automatically populates an app-based shopping list. If an item (like fruit) does not have a barcode, here’s where the GeniCan “talks” to you: It asks the user which item it can add to the shopping list. When the user answers, GeniCan uses its voice recognition feature to do just that. The product can be mounted inside of most waste bins, as well as in a neutral area such as the refrigerator or pantry. It retails for $149. A need is identified Like so many other inventions, the GeniCan was the result of a need brought on by firsthand experience....

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My Excellent Vegas Adventure

Excitement and endurance are all part of setting up at a trade show. I put the box on the scale and watched the numbers on the digital readout rise as it caught up to the weight. Thirty, 40, 45 lbs.—just under the limit. The American Airlines representative looked up from her computer screen and asked for my ID and boarding pass. “What’s in the box?” As my sleepless eyes tried to focus on the box, for a moment I couldn’t remember what was in it. My brain finally caught up to the question and as the response left my...

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Home Scare Yields a Promising Product

INIRV REACT’S JOURNEY, FROM CONCEPT TO TRADE SHOW Akshita Iyer, Radhika Iyer and Ranjith Babu went to the movies, only to return home to a horror show. Their invention to address a home-safety issue is a story that highlights the growing importance of the Internet of Things, as well as the key roles of design engineering and marketing in bringing a product to market. Radhika Iyer of Buffalo, New York, was visiting her daughter, Akshita, in Durham, North Carolina in 2015. The opening credits were rolling when Radhika—who had been cooking during the day— had an unsettling sense that...

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A Smart System Keeps Growing

Garden watering product a boon for plants and conservation.  Jason Aramburu was working in East Africa when he came up with his idea for gardens of Edyn. While studying soil additives for the first company he founded, re:char—on a project that was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation—he needed a way to accurately monitor the moisture of the soil on the vegetable farms where he worked. He looked into commercially available moisture monitors but was not satisfied with the results. “They were really expensive and didn’t really meet our needs,” recalls Aramburu, who holds a degree in...

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What Makes an IoT Device Tick?

Its connections are key to delivering information, enabling prototypes.  I first became interested in an Internet of Things (IoT) device when I realized it could help me grow my plants. I have an 8-by-12-foot greenhouse at the end of my driveway that is packed with orchids, my late grandmother’s Christmas cactus and my partner Kerry’s half-dead Wandering Jew plants that I tried to kill over the summer. Because the greenhouse is small, the temperature and humidity change rapidly inside based on the ambient temperature and sunlight. After installing a misting system for cooling a few years ago, I wanted...

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