TINY BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU!
SENSORS ARE INFILTRATING OUR LIVES, AND THEY HAVE A KNACK FOR MAKING THINGS BETTER BY KEEPING TAB ON THINGS
How many times have you gone to bed realising that you hardly drank any water during the day or have woken up in the morning remembering that you forgot to have your medicine the previous night. As our stressful lives make us more and more forgetful, technology is coming up with solutions to keep us ahead of the game, quite literally. And you are likely going to see a few of these in 2012.
Small sensors, hidden away in gadgets and even objects of daily use, are now helping people keep better track of their life. The Hydracoach, for instance, is an intelligent water bottle which calculates how much water you should be drinking—based of your weight, height and other factors—and keeps reminding you so that you achieve the goal. A combination of sensors connected to a small inboard computer tells the bottle if you have taken a sip, or forgotten to. Don’t be surprised if in the coming years similar technology makes its way to medicine bottles, beeping to remind you that it’s time for that dose of cough syrup.
And it’s not just about drinking water or taking your medicines. Sensors could soon be dictating everything from when to feed the family pet to how you brush your teeth, and we are not talking about the distant future. San Francisco-based Greengoose has already started marketing in the US wireless sticker sensors which will let you “play real life”.
Confused? Well, the concept is simple. Greengoose’s wireless stickers can automatically tell what's happening; like someone using his toothbrush, or taking the dog for a walk or even using the flush in the loo. The sensors then transmit the data to a small receiver that attaches to your home Wifi within a 250 feet range. The data is then used by apps (there is just one iphone app now) for a host of things from real life gaming to toilet training your kid.
While the sensors have started shipping, the company has now invited developers to come up with apps that put this data to the best use. A day when there will be Facebook posts giving people badges for the number of times they watered the cactus on their desktop does not seem to be far away. As of now, founder Brian Krejcarek is not thinking of serious ‘gamification’, and is keeping it simple with the sole target of fun for the entire family. After its first release of sensors for pets, the company will work on sensors that can tab physical movement in the form of a card that can slip into your wallet or purse, again opening up hundreds of possibilities.
Greengoose calls itself green because all its sensors can be recycled once their lifecycle -- roughly around a year for the battery -- is over. But other sensors are seriously green. For instance, most developed countries now mandate that commercial establishments should have lights with motion sensors to prevent wastage. These lights, many of which are also available in India, switch off on their own if it detects no human movement in its field for a specified period of time. Used in large offices and other commercial buildings, they can help reduce power consumption by as much as 30 per cent. And this is why sensors have now started making more sense.