Neat gadgets that make life easier are everything... especially if they take something tedious, such as grocery shopping, and turn it into something fun, streamlined, and convenient.
And a new device called Hiku aims to do just that.
Earlier this year, Amazon unveiled Dash buttons, which you could stick anywhere and press once to order something specific from Amazon.com, and it also introduced a Dash wand with a built-in microphone and barcode scanner, which you could use to scan goods and verbally add things to your Amazon shopping cart. We thought they were ingenious, but their availability has been limited, and they only work with Amazon.
Hiku is a bit different, and yet it's also very similar to both of Amazon's devices. It is a pocket-sized barcode scanner that you can keep anywhere, though you'll most likely leave it in your kitchen. When you run out of something, like dishwasher detergent, you can use Hiku to scan your empty detergent before tossing its packaging. Hiku will then add that item to a cloud-connected, shareable shopping list.
It also has a mic, so you could just tell Hiku to add something to your shopping list (like lemons or drain clog-removing liquid or whatever your heart desires). From there, you can access your shopping list and share it with others through the Hiku shopping list app. You can even connect Hiku to online stores to place an online order. Hiku currently works with Walmart and Peapod in the US.
Well, technically, it'll support online shopping for iOS and Android devices on 19 November. As Hiku compiles your grocery list, it will automatically sort the items that are available for purchase online, and then you simply have to tap the "buy" button to get those items sent directly to your doorstep. Simples. Hiku is also in the early stages of working with Waitrose in the UK.
You can go to here to enter your email address in order to be alerted when Hiku+Waitrose becomes available in the UK. But if you want to pick one up now anyway, the new version of Hiku costs just $50 through the end of 2015. It's expected to go up to $80 after that.