Finnish researchers develop 'smart' sensors connected to the environment to send information directly to a smartphone. The developers say the sensors can be used for guided lighting, burglar alarms and even a baby monitor. Sharon Reich reports.
Finnish tech company VTT is introducing sensors to help people interact with their environment. Confused? Watch how this floor lights up in the areas this man steps on. VTT researcher Esa-Matti Sarjanoja explains. (SOUNDBITE)(English) RESEARCH SCIENTIST VTT, ESA-MATTI SARJANOJA, SAYING: "What we are seeing here is detections of people walking in the corridor. That is based on depth cameras. We are using the detections to control lighting on the corridor so we can guide the people to the places they are going to." The trend to connect to our surroundings with smart devices, known as the Internet of Things, is fast-growing. The company says the technology could also be used for security purposes. For instance, an LED lamp could be put into burglar alarm mode, sensing movements by intruders in the home and sending notifications to a smart device throughout the day. Some other uses include putting smart sensors in baby monitors. The company's prototype smart soother gathers information about the baby's temperature, breathing and nutrition and sends the information to a smart phone. In a country where leaving babies to nap outside is common, even in freezing temperatures, parent Soledad Peresin says she'll be using the system regularly. (SOUNDBITE)(English) MOTHER, SOLEDAD PERESIN, SAYING: "When she is sleeping outside and using it I can monitor with this application in my phone. I can monitor her temperature, her body temperature, the temperature outside if there is a sudden drop on the temperature. I can go and bring her inside and also it gives me information of the pressure of her suction so in the case that you know your baby enough to have the suction pattern you know when she is about to wake up as well." VTT say the smart sensor's capability is almost endless. They're already working on fitting it into street lamps so the fixtures can have dimming and beam steering properties.