Egg Minder is dumb, and you don’t need it. (How dumb? To quote Quirky’s own product evaluation video, "it’s a pain in the ass," "superfluous," "really silly," and "the height of laziness.")

Backed by GE, it’s a product designed to tell you, via your iPhone, how many eggs remain in the fridge.

As an actual product with actual utility, it’s a reach at best. But as communication--a way of making the IoT instantly understandable and approachable for almost anyone--Egg Minder is great design.

Think of it as a rudimentary introduction to the Internet of Things.

Co.Design

Could This Idiotic Product Help "The Internet Of Things" Go Mainstream?

Egg Minder might be dumb product design, but as a piece of mass communication about web-connected products, it just might be genius.

Pop quiz: how many eggs are in your refrigerator right now? For most of us, there are three possible answers:

  1. Enough.
  2. Who cares.
  3. I don’t know, let me open the fridge and check.

But if you crave the ability to know, urgently, specifically, and numerically, how many eggs are in your fridge at any given moment, Egg Minder--a new product from crowdsourced-gadget emporium Quirky--has you covered. It’s a special-purpose Internet-connected egg tray that links to a smartphone app that will tell you, with pinpoint accuracy, how many eggs are in the tray. From anywhere in the world!

Egg Minder is dumb, and you don’t need it. (How dumb? To quote Quirky’s own product evaluation video, "it’s a pain in the ass," "superfluous," "really silly," and "the height of laziness.")

So why did it get made--especially in a high-profile partnership with GE? Who knows, but GE does have an interest in making "the Internet of things" as mainstream as possible. But so far, the Internet of things (or IoT) is a difficult concept to sell--it’s confined mainly to fringe hacker/maker gizmos like Twine, or promotional experiments like Berg’s Twitter-powered cuckoo clock. I’d bet your mom has never heard of it, and that you’d have a tough time explaining it to her.

Enter Egg Minder. It’s cheap, it’s simple, and it’s the best "Internet of things" explainer I’ve seen yet. As an actual product with actual utility, it’s a reach at best. But as communication--a way of making the IoT instantly understandable and approachable for almost anyone--Egg Minder is great design. That might be why GE is throwing its weight behind it. As Quartz noted, "Egg Minder has the potential to help normalize the notion that pretty soon just about everything we own will have some degree of self-awareness." A fridge full of "self aware stuff" sounds weird and/or creepy, but Egg Minder itself seems cute, familiar, and superficially intriguing. GE could probably give two farts about how many Egg Minders it actually sells--but if Egg Minder helps sell the idea of the Internet of things to you, me, and everyone we know, it’s a solid investment.

[hat tip: Quartz]

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17 Comments

  • Hagay Vider

    Rotten eggs are lighter than fresh eggs, due to gas buildup. If the tray could also weigh the eggs (as well as measure their diameters), then it would be much more useful. Regarding the LED light, it would make much more sense to detect how fresh each egg is, not how long it is on the tray. 

  • dannwebb

    Eggs should always be kept in their carton. In an open container such as this they will absorb the odours of other foods in the fridge.

  • BT

    The other potential barrier is that most of us are probably also too lazy to shift eggs from the egg carton onto this container. 

    My final word - why fight laziness with laziness? If we're too lazy to check the fridge, we are probably too lazy to check an app about eggs.

  • cassette_walkman

    Dear Internet, Can I please have a web connected product that tells me when all the web connected products have have reached the actual point of usefulness. The weather is nice here and I hope to see you again in the holidays.

  • Shur Luck

    It is kind of interesting. I could see it mostly being useful when you have different people using the eggs and shopping for the eggs. What would be really cool, and will probably come with the IoT, is when your fridge adds eggs to your shopping list, or even orders them for you, when you are running low. Eggs and everything else you use on a regular basis like milk, bread, and butter automatically getting delivered when needed. This is a step in that direction so I'll take it.

  • Bruce Colthart (@bccreative)

    Why doesn't someone invent in-fridge web cams instead?

  • Josh

    Great design? Eggs come in dozens or 18 for those purchasing from the supermarket. Knowing the age of each egg is handy for those like me tracking eggs laid daily from backyard chickens.

  • Jess Gibbs

    Maybe it's assuming you go buy eggs when you only have two left in the fridge so you don't run out?

  • 5thP

    This is silly, but so many potential applications.  But I don't want a hundred new apps.  Will one company do the "Thing Tracker" app that talks to all the things?  Maybe based on a universal system like UPC codes.

  • cmrstudios

    "Idiotic" would be if it posted its' status to a Facebook profile. I'm sure someone will soon do that and pair it with a milk jug webcam. No, make that a "dairycam".

  • Paul McCarthy

    Dear Internet, please can you let me know when I've nearly run out of toilet roll?

  • OrionAdvertising

    I can see all sorts of applications for this, especially in health care. But where does the IoT reside and who curates it? At this point, isn't it just a (wish) list?

  • houseofcakes

    If the eggminder could let me know when the chickens lay eggs and how many are there AT THAT INSTANT, then THAT would be really useful.