Lazy Tommy Pumpkinhead, 2.0

Growing up, one of my very favorite books was Lazy Tommy Pumpkinhead (very sadly, out of print). It’s a story about a boy, Tommy, who lives in an ‘electric’ house, where robotic appliances do everything for him: waking him up, brushing his teeth, feeding him, etc. Until one day, when things go terribly wrong…


This book page is from the Lazy Tommy Pumpkinhead post on the blog Books for Breakfast.

Clearly, home automation and the broader Internet of Things (IoT) have many benefits to offer. But I often find myself thinking of this book when I hear about new smart home gadgets and appliances that seem like they’re not…quite there yet. The fantastic Twitter account @InternetOfShit does a great job of compiling these stories.

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Taking this a step further, Simone Giertz, a Swedish inventor and roboticist, wins the title of Lazy Tommy Pumpkinhead 2.0. She has a YouTube channel of maybe-not-so-useful house robots, like this lipstick robot:

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The Nerdist article is pretty great, as is this video of a typical morning in Simone’s home.

Internet of Things + Blockchain?

I’m intrigued by IDEO’s upcoming Internet of Things + Blockchain make-a-thon and fellowship, exploring “The Future of Privacy, Automation, and Exchange.” The option to have distributed and encrypted systems for data storage is becoming increasingly important, and a version of a blockchain for the IoT offers some attractive properties.

The event will take place on March 12 at IDEO’s San Francisco studio, and applications to participate are open until February 21. More on the event (and application) here:


The Future of Privacy, Automation, and Exchange

The objects in our lives are quickly becoming smarter and more connected. We are surrounded by more sensors than ever, and activities are becoming increasingly automated based on the data collected by these sensors.

But what does it mean to have devices—from our cars, to our refrigerators, to our thermostats and beyond—connect not just to us as individuals, but also to each other? How will the world change when data and devices are able to freely connect, mix, and create new services and experiences, without direct guidance by a person? What’s the interface by which we will tap into these emergent networks that cross boundaries between the physical and the digital? What businesses become possible when any device can participate in the sharing economy?