What did salt do to deserve a Bluetooth-connected shaker?

We talk to the creator of the Smalt, a device that connects to your phone via Bluetooth, plays music and dispenses salt.

Ashlee Clark Thompson
Ashlee Clark Thompson Associate Editor
Ashlee spent time as a newspaper reporter, AmeriCorps VISTA and an employee at a healthcare company before she landed at CNET. She loves to eat, write and watch "Golden Girls" (preferably all three at the same time). The first two hobbies help her out as an appliance reviewer. The last one makes her an asset to trivia teams. Ashlee also created the blog, AshleeEats.com, where she writes about casual dining in Louisville, Kentucky.
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The Smalt's Indiegogo campaign is scheduled to launch June 15.

Herb and Body

Not even your simple salt shaker is safe from a smart-home upgrade. A company called Herb & Body will launch an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign June 15 for the Smalt, a Bluetooth-connected salt dispenser that also streams music and illuminates a room with color-changing lights.

Yes, you read that correctly -- a device with a profile similar to the Amazon Echo and Google Home smart speakers, but the added ability to add more flavor to your food. Smalt is a salt shaker with a Ph.D. in being extra.

"Salt does not have to be smart, but humans do," Smalt founder Bipan Singh told me. "What makes us smart is access to information. Smalt is a mode to measure, track and control sodium consumption, if one really cares to do so."

Singh said he wants to raise at least $100,000 through Smalt's upcoming Indiegogo campaign. The company has yet to finalize how much the Smalt will cost.

Here's how the Smalt will work: You can use a dial on the device itself or an app to select how much salt you want to dispense. The Smalt will then track how much salt you're eating, Singh said.

But why add music streaming and lights? That's what the people want, at least according to market research he's collected, Singh said.

    "There is no disputing the fact that ambiance plays a great role in enhancing the meals we consume," he said. "Ambiance includes centerpieces, lighting in the dining area and music ... Since all the elements exist but are separate, why not combine them in a contemporary portable design to offer something fun for the dining area?"

    Singh also points to products like a connected hairbrush and floating speakers as evidence that there's a market for making ordinary products like a salt shaker smart.

    "If all these products have a place, Smalt is definitely not unnecessary and for sure it is not taking tech too far," he said, perhaps a little defensively.

    What ever happened to these crowdfunded smart-home gadgets? (pictures)

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