With a growing number of Internet of Things-enabled devices in our living environment, the idea of a smart home is gradually coming closer. For one of his research projects, Ph.D. researcher Gierad Laput delved into the field of connected home appliances and created another sensing device — but this one is quite different from the many already around.
Laput’s device can be plugged into a power outlet, and connects a range of sensors through Wi-Fi that can provide real-time measurements of motion, sound, pressure, heat, humidity, electromagnetic interference, temperature, light intensity, and more. By bringing together all these different sensors and integrating their individual measurement data, the new ‘mega-sensor’ can accurately detect events in various environments. In this way, the sensor can monitor a certain room or area and provide highly specific and applicable feedback on what is happening there.
Through providing immediate feedback to consumers, the mega-sensor — or synthetic sensor as Laput calls it — allows people to more effectively keep track of their energy use and waste production as well as to keep an eye on safety. Unlike for many other monitoring systems, no camera is needed for the synthetic sensor, thereby lowering potential infringements on consumers’ privacy.
According to Laput, his sensing device has not yet reached its full potential in terms of functionalities — the device can continuously be expanded by integrating higher order sensors into the already existing sensing system, allowing for more complex monitoring and feedback services.