Synthetic Sensors: Towards General-Purpose Sensing (Carnegie Mellon Univ)

CMU’s plug-In “Synthetic Sensor” transforms any room into smart environment

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Source: Carnegie Mellon University, Human-Computer Interaction Institute, Gierad Laput, Yang Zhang, Chris Harrison

Although ubiquitous sensors seem almost synonymous with the IoT, some Carnegie Mellon University researchers say sensing with a single, general purpose sensor for each room may be better.

The team has developed a plug-in sensor package that monitors multiple phenomena — sounds, vibration, light, heat, electromagnetic noise, temperature, etc. — in a room. With some help from machine-learning techniques, the sensors can determine whether a faucet’s left or right spigot is running, if the microwave door is open or how many paper towels have been dispensed.

“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,” said Gierad Laput, a Ph.D. student in CMU’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII).

Click here for technical paper.

Source: Carnegie Mellon University, Human-Computer Interaction Institute, Gierad Laput, Yang Zhang, Chris Harrison