We already have smart TVs, smart refrigerators, smart light bulbs and smart ovens. One lowly household item isn't smart yet: the humble trash can. It just sits there and takes everything you throw at it. If Indiegogo project GeniCan takes off, the rubbish bin may find its voice and become an intelligent household assistant.
GeniCan is a device you attach to the side of your garbage bin using a magnet. It contains a barcode reader. Scan the barcodes on items you throw away or recycle to have them automatically added to a shopping list. The resulting list is then accessible from an app on your smartphone. GeniCan also hopes to eventually incorporate automatic grocery deliveries through retail partners.
For items that don't have a barcode, the GeniCan uses voice recognition, so you can add vegetables, bulk peanuts or flowers from the farmers' market to your list. There's a certain amount of geek appeal to holding a one-sided conversation with your trash can.
The Genican team says it has created a couple of prototypes, finalized the design and now needs financial backing, that it aims to do through crowdfunding, to go into production. It has raised over $5,000 towards a $50,000 flexible funding goal, which means the campaign will receive all funds raised even if it does not reach its goal of $50,000. The campaign has 17 days left on Indiegogo before it expires .
One of the biggest challenges facing the project may be dealing with the consumer mindset of just tossing your trash away and forgetting about it. To make it work, you (and everyone in your house) have to scan barcodes, which takes just a tiny bit of extra time. A new habit is required. It's not an impossible task. I readily switched over to using my Amazon Echo, a voice control system and speaker, to log my shopping list by voice. The GeniCan isn't far off from this.
There's also the issue of trying to keep the gadget clean as you're scraping leftover pasta sauce and gloppy egg shells into the garbage. If that's a concern, the GeniCan can be mounted someplace else near the trash.
The GeniCan could appeal to smart-home enthusiasts and people who enjoy using the self-checkout line at the grocery store. People who order early can get it for $119 (about £75, AU$148), with the regular price coming in at $149 (about £94, AU$185).