Unconventional Home Gadgets

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Unconventional Home Gadgets
Article Excerpt

Technology keeps making household tasks more convenient. Sometimes, new gadgets come out that are unusual or just plain weird. Here are a few examples.

Throughout the 20th century, innovations changed the way we do household tasks, from washing machines to refrigerators to microwave ovens. Not every innovative gadget has had the staying power of the refrigerator, though. The following are a few appliances and gadgets that might seem a bit unusual.

The oven that’s always on.

Gas and electric ovens have two different ways of operating:

  • A conduction oven works on a pretty basic principle: if you place food close to a heat source, the food will cook. Whether the heat comes from electricity or gas, the underlying principle is the same.

  • Convection is a more involved process, but it arguably does a better and faster job of cooking food. A convection oven uses a fan to circulate heat. The interior of a convection oven maintains one consistent temperature since it is continuously redistributing heated air.

Another type of oven is always ready to cook. A Swedish physicist invented the AGA oven in the 1920s. This insulated cast-iron oven uses a single heat source to evenly distribute heat throughout multiple compartments and “burners.” It remains on at all times.

ASA Oven

The AGA is still in use today in various places around the world. Since it remains on all the time, it constantly radiates warmth. That might be great if you live somewhere with harsh winters — it’s big in the United Kingdom — but not so much in Texas.

Playing with your dogs from a distance.

Some may consider it sad to play with your dog via the internet. It’s nearly Wall-E-esque; as if we rely on devices to do something so simple as playing with our dogs!

But maybe as you’re gone on a trip, you’d like to communicate with pets while you’re away. We have cameras that let us check in on our furry friends, but at least one company has gone several steps further.

The Furbo is more than just a camera. It has a microphone and speakers so that you and your dogs can talk to one another. It also has the ability to launch dog treats, hopefully keeping your dogs entertained and thinking about you. This assumes, of course, that your dog doesn’t decide to investigate the source of the flying treats. The Furbo looks sturdy, but a determined dog might just see that as a challenge.

dog wearing headphones

Brushing your teeth… smart-ly?

Dentists have devised many ways to help people do a better job brushing their teeth. Electric toothbrushes, as it turns out, were just the start of a revolution in dental hygiene technology. The Prophix is a smart toothbrush that does more than just remind you when it’s time to brush your teeth. It contains an HD camera and a small light that can take photos and videos of the inside of your mouth while you brush, which you can then view on your smartphone. You can also use it to take pictures of areas of concern to send to your dentist.

electronic toothbrush next to cup of water

Automated home photography.

Imagine this: cameras, connected to the internet, in your living room, taking pictures automatically. Uncomfortable? You may want to avoid Google Clips products.

Google is unquestionably one of the greatest success stories of the internet era, but even it has produced some duds over the years. Google Clips was based on a good idea. It was a small camera that you could place somewhere in your home to act as a sort of automated photographer. It could recognize when people were smiling and the light conditions were right for a picture. Set one up before hosting a party, and afterward you should have a wealth of pictures from the event, right? Well, there were some problems.

The cameras worked in a technical sense. People just didn’t like it. As one person who says he worked on the project put it, “It turns out that humans only like pictures that are taken from the perspective of other humans' eyes… We don't like the vibe of pictures taken from tabletops or backpacks or lapel pins or dog collars.” Google Clips launched in October 2017, and it was pronounced “dead” two years later.

Very few people used the product, and those that did tended not to be impressed. Google stopped all support for both the product and the app at the end of 2021.

camera sitting on books

Create your own sanctuary!

Whether these gizmos seem strange, incredibly useful, or somewhere in-between, owning a home means making it your own. Home ownership offers more freedom to express yourself. Your first step is mortgage approval. Get started online with our easy form to see what you qualify for!