Smart toaster will relocate to another home if neglected


March 16, 2014

The Addicted Toaster is designed to bring attention to areas where e-waste can be reduced

The Addicted Toaster is designed to bring attention to areas where e-waste can be reduced

A household full of smart, connected appliances could have benefits beyond waking up in a toasty warm house to the smell of freshly brewed coffee. As part of his Addicted Products project, Italian product designer Simone Rebaudengo has created a connected toaster that becomes unhappy when it goes unused, drawing attention to areas where e-waste can be reduced.

Rebaudengo, in collaboration with the London-based firm Haque Design Research, programmed the Addicted Toaster to set certain values for satisfaction relating to its use. Each time these demands are met, the value required to satisfy the toaster increases again, in effect replicating human addiction. But if the toaster begins to feel neglected, it might just cry out for help.

The Addicted Toaster has a built-in Ethernet port through which it connects to a network of its peers (other smart toasters) via the internet. Through this network, hopeful users can apply to host a toaster, which will be theirs for as long as they keep it happy. The toaster can sense when other toasters in the network are being used by their hosts, which can result feelings of jealousy and contribute to overall discontent.

The toaster demonstrates its unhappiness by moving its lever up and down while making unpleasant noises. If it is really dissatisfied, it will denounce its hosts as unworthy via the toaster network, in which case a courier service will come to whisk it away to a more nurturing household.

While the appeal of having such a demanding toaster might be questionable, the experiment brings to light the kinds of possibilities a connected home could bring. A large-scale toaster-sharing system might not be realistic, but a network that can monitor the use of common household appliances might not only make us more conscious of our usage, but prompt us to think about whether we could get away with sharing a product rather than owning it.

The Addicted Toaster project is part of Rebaudengo's MSc in Design for Interaction at TU Delft University in the Netherlands. The project appears to be on hold, but if you want to host a toaster yourself, you can register your interest here.

You can hear the story of Brad the connected toaster in the video below.

Source: Simone Rebaudengo

About the Author
Nick Lavars Nick was born outside of Melbourne, Australia, with a general curiosity that has drawn him to some distant (and very cold) places. Somewhere between enduring a winter in the Canadian Rockies and trekking through Chilean Patagonia, he graduated from university and pursued a career in journalism. Having worked for publications such as The Santiago Times and The Conversation, he now writes for Gizmag from Melbourne, excited by tech and all forms of innovation, the city's bizarre weather and curried egg sandwiches. All articles by Nick Lavars

Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy? Give this toaster a voice synthesiser!

Rachel Green

"The toaster demonstrates its unhappiness by moving its lever up and down while making unpleasant noises."

It does?

Can it tell if the user has a hangover?

Because, if not...


Toasters are big energy-wasters. This piece of junk encourages people to waste energy.



That is the silliest idea yet! Made by a group of bored 'nerds' with nothing to do. What happens when the homeowner goes on holiday for a fortnight or longer, leaves the power on for freezer, timed lighting etc,? Do they come home to an empty house because all the appliances got p***d off and called for a courier? Or a houseful of appliances all making "I'm unhappy" noises? Absolutely pointless, useless and worthless idea.

The Skud
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