Life & Lifestyle

The Right Tech at the Right Time Saves Time, Too

Technology saves us a great deal of time. Studies have shown the average human can save anywhere from one to two weeks a year using the technology at hand. I agree — but it must be the right technology in the right hands.

I have friends whose new best friend is Amazon’s Alexa. They use it constantly in lieu of pulling out their smartphone and searching for endless trivia, weather updates, recipes, music, and more.

But there is a world beyond simple data mining.

In today’s deluge of “smart” technology, both Alexa and your smartphone will connect to everything from your “smart” fridge to your “smart” washer. You can preheat the oven from the grocery store and receive a notification in the den when your jeans are dry. Some washer/dryer units even order more detergent when you need it!

You can now awaken at night and monitor your home’s smart locks or control its smart lights from the bed. You can go to work and never worry about leaving your iron turned on — or anything else, if plugged into a smart plug. One version of Roomba, the little robot vacuum, will freely converse with Alexa.

Of course, technology has spawned a gaggle of gadgets that might be classified as timesavers.

Beautiful house with huge, beautiful windows? The Hobot 298 Window Cleaning Robot will a clean roughly a 40-inch by 40-inch square of glass in just 2.5 minutes.

Lose track of time when polishing up your smile? The Quip electric toothbrush has a two-minute timer to keep you on track. Pair this with an automatic toothpaste dispenser and those saved minutes will really rack up!

Cut down on nasty, repetitive tasks? There are at least a dozen automated, self-scooping litter boxes that claim they only need servicing every few weeks. Or perhaps the Giddel Toilet Cleaning Robot Kit might be of more value to your toolkit.

Speaking of swirling, the üutensil automatic pot stirrer is one of several self-propelled devices you can drop into your gravy to stir on your behalf. There are even several battery-powered self-stirring coffee mugs available; the DricRoda Self Stirring Coffee Mug requires no battery, instead operating thanks to the heat from your hot beverage of choice.

How about a low-tech cleaning device — no Alexa, wo Wi-Fi, and no batteries? TICARVE and ColorCoral offer a cleaning gel that looks and feels like a giant blob of slime. Applying the wobbly mass to your keyboard and other rugged surfaces like car vents or printers will let you lift scads of dust, lint, and dirt particles.

To some folks these tech gadgets sound silly and a waste of money. But I once laughed at the idea of a battery-driven screwdriver until my arm was sore for almost a week after assembling a massive storage unit by hand. Today, I reach for my power screwdriver for even the smallest of tasks.


Broc Sears

Broc Sears is an assistant professor of professional practice at TCU’s Bob Schieffer College of Communication and also works with the Texas Center for Community Journalism. He has more than three decades of experience in the news, advertising and marketing industries and earned recognition from the Society for News Design, Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, APME of Texas and the Dallas Press Club. He and his wife enjoy the best days of their lives here in Dallas with their family.

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