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Too drunk to drive? These ice cubes will text a friend

  • Smart tech is turning everyday items into interactive devices
  • Ice cubes, jeans, your fridge among items that can send texts
  • NY Times: 'Smartphones have become life’s remote control'
Too drunk to drive? These ice cubes will text a friend

Editor's Note: Karyn Lu is Turner Broadcasting's manager of New Media Insights & Inspiration. Each week, she scouts out amazing innovations, cutting-edge technology and, well, just really awesome stuff and shares them right here. Before it goes mainstream, it's going to be one of her favorite 5 Things From The Future!

Ever since CES 2013 wrapped up last week, the phrase I've been hearing all over the place has been "The Internet of Everything."  You can also call it “Intelligent Objects” -- essentially, the phenomenon is that everyday objects are evolving into connected, smart devices and are therefore recognizable, locatable and controllable via the Internet.

Indeed, this is a trend that we’ve been seeing, and a really fun one at that. Check out just a few fantastic examples:

Control all your lights from one phone

Philips has introduced a new line of LED light bulbs called “Hue” that can be controlled via a smartphone app. Hue bulbs come with LED lights that can be combined to create up to 16 million hues. The starter kit, which you can already purchase in Apple stores for $199, includes three bulbs and a hub. Oh, and you can also do the same thing with home wall décor: Check out these LED wall decals that you can control via your smartphone.

You do the walking. Your jeans do the thinking.

We’re not just talking about household appliances getting smarter here. In the near future, your jeans -- yes, the actual pants on your body -- will be connected to the Internet. Italian jeans brand Replay’s “Social Denim” comes equipped with the technology to let you instantly share your emotions and/or location with the social networks of your choice.

Out of milk? Your fridge will text you

As ordinary household appliances get smarter, your refrigerator may, for example, become smart enough to know what’s in it and 1) text you when you’re nearly out of milk, so that you can grab some on your way home, or 2) suggest a dinner recipe based on the ingredients you already have inside.

Ice cubes that know when you've had too much

Next time you go out drinking, your ice cubes may be smart enough to keep you from getting too drunk. “Cheers” is a set of jellied ice cubes embedded with LED lights that change color (from green to orange to red) as you approach your drinking limit. What’s more, since they are connected to the Internet, these ice cubes can also send a message to your friend if you do go beyond your limit, so that a responsible driver can make sure you get home safely.

Flip on a light -- on the other side of the country

A lovely project that’s currently seeking financial support on crowdfunding site Kickstarter, “The Good Night Lamp,” is a “family of connected lamps that lets you communicate the act of coming back home to your loved ones, remotely.” There’s a Big Lamp, with a number of Little Lamps linked to it -- regardless of wherever they are in the world, turn the Big Lamp on and the Little Lamps turn on as well.

With everything under the sun becoming connected, the New York Times notes that our smartphones have become life’s remote control, bringing new meaning to the phrase “there’s an app for that.”

A recent Wired article on this very subject asks: “We currently live in a world where more than 99 percent of all physical objects are not connected to the network. What happens when a mere 10 percent get connected? What happens when we connect people, process, data and things?”

I, for one, can’t wait to see the possibilities.

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