Dolmio is aiming to claim back meal times with its new pepper grinder that cleverly and covertly turns off gadgets. Families are increasingly sat around a table at meal times staring at their phones or tablets and this not only leads to less interpersonal interaction but also to arguments too.
The Pepper Hacker looks like a normal pepper grinder from the outside so family members and children will never suspect a thing. But one twist turns off gadgets such as wi-fi routers and televisions, and remotely locks smartphones as hidden inside is secret technology.
Dolmio Australia, who created the Pepper Hacker, aims to bring families closer together by removing distractions to help us connect to the people in front of us. The Pepper Hacker is still in prototype stages but a recent Dolmio campaign saw mothers using the device on their children’s gadgets while round the dinner table. The result was annoyed and upset children who no longer had access to their apps and conversations.
The grinder turns off electronics such as TVs, games consoles and routers that are connected to a power hub, but in order to have control of mobile phones the phone must be connected to AirWatch so that it can be locked remotely. AirWatch is an enterprise mobile management software that can control devices from iPhones to Android tablets with a single dashboard, which sounds helpful for mums but it would be a difficult job trying to install the app on a child’s tablet or smartphone without their permission. Neither the Dolmio Pepper Hacker nor AirWatch are available to all yet, but Dolmio hopes to enter the design into worldwide competitions so that it may be one day available to mums everywhere.
Pasta sauce brand Dolmio created the Pepper Hacker in collaboration with creative agencies Clemenger BBDO Sydney, Pollen, Ogilvy PR and Starcom in order to test a number of prototypes and see what would happen when the device was used in family households at dinnertime. The children (and adult men) of the house weren’t at all impressed with the device at first but, as Dolmio’s videos show, the families eventually settled down into fun conversation over their dinner.
The Pepper Hacker has been met with enthusiasm from the press and parents alike, so if the Pepper Hacker does become a consumer product then it’s likely to be a hit. While children and teenagers may not be so keen on the idea, they will come to enjoy the gadget-free dinner table knowing that they can get back to their TV programs and apps within half an hour or so.
Until the Pepper Hacker is available to buy, there are a number of gadgets and apps you can use to turn off your children’s devices and allow you to have a quiet meal together without the distractions of electronics. The TV-B-Gone $21.99 is a tiny remote on a keychain that cycles through hundreds of TV turn-off codes in less than a minute, enabling you to turn off any television that your child is watching without them knowing. The Belkin WeMo Switch $49.99 will allow you turn off any electrical device connected to the plug via your smartphone from wherever you are. Very useful for mealtimes but also for times when you’re out or at work and want your children to stop playing video games or watching movies.
Finally, if you can access your internet router’s settings through your web browser, then you can follow these tips to disable internet access for a certain amount of time. Or for younger children, download the DinnerTime Plus app to be able to control their tablets and devices from your smartphone.