More By This Author

Current Issue

Current Issue

Posted: March 07, 2011

Embracing our inner cyborg: Part 2

Ingenious motion sensor tech uses

Thomas Frey

As soon as the iPhone was introduced with motion sensor technology, creative people around the world began asking the very simple question, "What other things can we do with motion sensors?" And the answers they've come up with are more than a little ingenious.

So without waiting for smartphone companies to incorporate features into their phones, remote sensors with wireless signaling can open up opportunities in a spectacular fashion. To stir your thinking a bit, here are a few sensors that come to mind:

• Pressure Sensors: Anything that our physical body comes into contact with such as shoes, football helmets, pillows, chairs, and mattresses will be prime candidates for pressure sensors.
• Chemical Sensors: Are oxygen levels too high or too low? Why did this lotion burn my skin? Are there signs of mold and mildew in the carpet?
• Reflectivity: Will this paint cause my house to heat up or cool down? Do these windows let light in or reflect most of it away?
• Heat Sensors: These sensors will give us an understanding of all the micro-environments we exist in showing temperature variations inside and outside of clothing, above and below blankets, and in houses along pipes, windows, and any external walls.
• Moisture: Are these plants too wet or too dry? Is there a moisture leak in the ceiling? Does the diaper need changing?
• Vibration: Any piece of machinery that starts vibrating in an unusual manner is giving signs that something is wrong.
• Frequency: The sound and noise environments we exist in play an important role in our health. An ability to map and trace frequencies throughout our day will give us amazing insight into both the audible and non-audible communities of sounds we find ourselves in.
• Smell and Odor: Should I enter that perfume shop or will it make me sick? Where is that odor coming from? Is this food fresh or stale?
• Spectrometer: Does this soil have the right kind of fertilizer? What kinds of chemicals are present in this makeup? Is there a chance carbon monoxide may be present?
• Speed: How fast is that horse running? How fast is that bird flying? At this pace, how long will it take for this snail to work its way over to the window?

Remote Cameras, Remote Microphones

Adding a remote camera or microphone to a smartphone will undoubtedly unlock an entire Padora's Box full of possibilities.

Already city-wide deployments of over 100,000 cameras are becoming common in countries like China and India. However, these will seem like small numbers once a new breed of wearable cameras comes into existence and people become the mobile surveillance units of the future.

The price of wireless cameras and microphones are plummeting, and along with our ability to link these devices to our smartphones will come a new generation of deployment strategies.
You can expect to see ideas for swallowing devices to record their journey through our digestive system, imbedded devices that are permanently placed under our skin, cameras grown into trees, microphones imbedded into concrete, and much more.

Remote sensing tactics will begin to permeate business strategies as each new discovery will cause planning sessions from even a few months earlier to become instantly dated.

Next Generation Peripheral Devices

Wireless communication between peripheral devices and smartphones will be tricky at first as each new signal and frequency will be plagued with its own sets of interferences. But with a little fine tuning, the range of new capability will become truly breathtaking.

Here are but a few possibilities to help peak your imagination: Looxcie wearable Bluetooth camcorder smartphone compatible

1. Personal Coaching Device: Adding a video and audio feed to a smartphone will enable a personal coach or trainer to see what you're seeing and hear what you're hearing even though they may be thousands of miles away. Coaching devices will help you through business negotiations, deal with difficult people, and even work through traumatic and emotional events.

2. Smart Shoe Monitor: Linking our smartphones to the pressures and movements inside our feet will open the doors to countless ideas on how to mitigate pressure points and eliminate pain and sensitivities. This will also lead to better tools for analyzing our gate, running styles, distance covered, daily routes, and far more.

3. Intraoral Camera: People currently do not have the ability to see their teeth. Yes, you can look into a mirror, but there is no way to closely inspect your own bicuspids. Simply connecting a lighted camera-wand to a smartphone will radically improve our own understanding of what's happening inside our mouths. Sales of dental hygiene products will skyrocket along with this single innovation.

4. Wearable Tech: Look for a new breed of high tech fashion wear to hit the market that carefully integrates sensors, cameras, displays, and controllers into the fabric of the clothing. As a smartphone peripheral, this clothing will be both inward focused on bodily functions and outward focused on the surrounding environments. The trick will be to make it durable enough for cleaning, comfortable to wear, and fashionable enough to make people want to be seen wearing it.

5. Smart Dashboards: Future dashboards will serve as the convenient interactive display for personal smartphone. Smart dashboards will soon begin showing up on bicycles, riding lawnmowers, boats, tractors, cars, and snowmobiles.

6. Game Controllers: Smartphones are destined to become the game consoles of the future, connected to a wide variety of peripheral devices to serve as controllers. Many games will transition from a solitary experience inside a darkened room to a highly-engaging, interpersonal experience that happens in the real world, albeit highly augmented real world.
{pagebreak:Page 1}

Thomas Frey is the executive director and senior futurist at the DaVinci Institute and currently Google’s top-rated futurist speaker.  At the Institute, he has developed original research studies, enabling him to speak on unusual topics, translating trends into unique opportunities. Tom continually pushes the envelope of understanding, creating fascinating images of the world to come.  His talks on futurist topics have captivated people ranging from high level of government officials to executives in Fortune 500 companies including NASA, IBM, AT&T, Hewlett-Packard, Unilever, GE, Blackmont Capital, Lucent Technologies, First Data, Boeing, Ford Motor Company, Qwest, Allied Signal, Hunter Douglas, Direct TV, Capital One, National Association of Federal Credit Unions, STAMATS, Bell Canada, American Chemical Society, Times of India, Leaders in Dubai, and many more. Before launching the DaVinci Institute, Tom spent 15 years at IBM as an engineer and designer where he received over 270 awards, more than any other IBM engineer.

Enjoy this article? Sign up to get ColoradoBiz Exclusives. The opinions expressed in this article are solely that of the author and do not represent ColoradoBiz magazine. Comments on articles will be removed if they include personal attacks.

Readers Respond

Leave a comment





Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:



ColoradoBiz TV

Loading the player ...

Featured Video