Enough of ‘SmartPhones’! Now just plug this new device and convert your home into ‘SmartHome’!

News Bharati English    31-May-2017

Pennsylvania, May 31: The Internet today has turned our lives upside down. Without the Internet, our life is just incomplete.The promise of the Internet of Things is to embed sensors and connectivity capabilities in everyday household objects, allowing for automation, remote control, and granular information. However, replacing all the things people already own with smart objects can be an expensive proposition. Additionally, there is a wide range of standards and protocols used in different IoT ecosystems. What if you could just plug in one device into a conventional electrical socket, and convert everything into the room into smart objects?

Researchers from the Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) have developed a platform that does just that. Gierad Laput, a Ph.D. student in CMU says “The idea is you can plug this in and immediately turn a room into a smart environment. You don’t have to go out and buy expensive smart appliances, which probably can’t talk to each other anyway, or attach sensors to everything you want to monitor, which can be hard to maintain as well as ugly. You just plug it into an outlet.”

The single device packs in a number of sensors, including those for sound, vibration, light, heat, electromagnetic noise and temperature. A camera has been omitted because of privacy concerns. Machine learning algorithms are used to recognize the different activities in the environment. The device can sense whether a microwave door is open or shut or if a tap has been left running. The microphone and AI algorithms together can recognize when a whiteboard is being written on, and when it is being wiped. The AI allows the sensor to distinguish between a mixer grinder and a coffee grinder.

A more advanced version of the sensor can detect human activities, where they are in an environment, and what they are doing — sleeping, bathing or watching television. The processing takes place on the sensor platform itself, so there is no need to store or transmit sensitive information. The sensors can be manually trained to detect a range of activities. Pre-training in the factory with popular devices and activities allows the sensor platform to start working right out of the box.

The sensor platform can be plugged into an electrical socket in any room. Every room requires its own device, to convert the room into a smart room. However, the sensors in the house can communicate with each other to form a local network of connected sensor platforms for the home. This approach significantly reduces the number of sensors needed in a smart home. The project has been supported by Google.