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Most smart home products are little more than silly gimmicks that use flash or parlor tricks to justify their existence. Refrigerators with a built-in display and washing machines that automatically order laundry detergent are two perfect examples.
Occasionally, however, something truly useful comes down the pipe like the SmartCan.
The SmartCan is a motorized accessory for your municipal-issued trash can. Developed by Andrew Murray as a way to automate a chore that everyone hates, the device will automatically drive your trash can to the curb on trash day.
A companion app is used to program the device, allowing you to set a date and time for the can to head out to the curb. After it has been emptied, the can will return itself to its storage location.
The accessory does have a few potential shortcomings. For starters, they appear to work in conjunction with docking stations. Not everyone will be able to install a docking station on their curb. What’s more, if you store your can in the garage or behind a fence, you’ll still have to remember to open the door on pick-up day. And if your can doesn’t make it back onto the sidewalk or gets tipped over, it’s not going to be able to return itself after emptying.
Cost and durability are also concerns that we don’t yet have the answers to. If it is too expensive or too fragile (trash cans take a beating, after all, and are pretty disgusting), user adoption will suffer.