Technology: Is it too smart for its own good?


Our technology guy Colin Moors goes in search of dumb and dumber.

There is an unwritten rule in the technology community and, more generally in life, which states that “because one can, doesn’t mean one should”. OK, we have our smart watches that will tell us our heart rate, something that is definable as at least useful information, should you be watching your health or heart rate. Sadly, for every smart home thermostat and heart rate monitor, there’s something utterly dumb. Here, then, are three of the more esoteric items of technology you’ll probably want to avoid – and one you may not. I promise you all these are real.

Have you ever wondered how many calories you burn during intercourse? No, please don’t write in, this is a question by a company called British Condoms ( who are British and make condoms. While not a contraceptive, the iCon (no, I don’t know why either) is a metal ring that sits at, er, the base of the condom. It can send all sorts of data to your phone. It will apparently track the vigour of your thrusts, skin temperature and other all-important info such as the frequency and longevity of your lovemaking.

If we can agree that ‘best’ is a subjective term, the best feature of the iCon is that you can share your data with the rest of the world, finally knowing how your prowess compares to other like-minded individuals. I can only imagine that the post-coital cigarette will soon be a thing of the past, due to the fact that they are terribly bad for you and because people will be waving their phone around trying to get a signal. If this sounds like your kind of thing, you’ll have to wait a while as the release has been delayed. Sometimes, the jokes just write themselves.

Who here isn’t tired of the constant struggle with waste bins? I surely am. It’s a constant worry; will I spill some crumbs while transferring the contents of my dustpan to the bin? Do I have enough bags left to last the week? Is it bin day yet? Well, your stress-filled days are over thanks to Bruno ( This must-have waste bin has a built-in vacuum so you only need to sweep dust near the opening at the bottom and your dust is sucked up into the void. Obviously, there is a Wi-Fi connection – how else would you know it was bin day or if you were low on bags? With a motion sensing lid that opens as you approach it, there’s no need to ever bend down again. The attractive part is surely the price; a steal at only $249 (€210). The bags are proprietary too so don’t think you can cheat on Bruno and buy them from the supermarket. A bundle of 42 bags – this seems odd but is a three-month supply, assuming two bags per week – is $20. Now you know what to buy the man or woman who has everything.