1-2-10: Sensors


Brainstorming some sensors and possible applications. Two quick examples. Wake-up Coffee and Deflation.

There are several habitual activities that I do upon waking up, regardless of what time that ends up being. One of them is to make some coffee. Many coffee makers have timer features, but my preferred device, a single-serving espresso maker does not. Even if it did, I don’t always get up at the same time every day, so I’d have to reset the timer each time.

The idea here is to use sensors in the bed to determine when I’ve finally woken up and use that data to start the coffee maker over a local area network. Perhaps some kind of pressure sensor under the mattress, coupled with a bit of software intelligence to reduce false positives from tossing about or getting up briefly during the night.

The coffee maker is just one possible use scenario. Another perhaps is to preheat the water for a morning shower. The hot water takes a few minutes to make it up to the fourth floor of my walk-up apartment, so it would be nice to get up, have the water automatically run until a preset temperature is reached then let me know it was ready.

A combination of several things could streamline my variable-time-yet-always-immediately-after-waking ritual. It’s based on the idea of systems working around the user’s behavior – which gets complicated quickly…so let me start relatively small.

deflation-sketchSecond idea is called Deflation. It’s a small, inflated sphere that you can carry with you which represents the usage of a personal monetary budget. In the user-scenario outlined in the sketch all transactions are assumed to be electronic. A user sets up a daily budget and associates the transactions from particular accounts with the device. When transactions occur, the device is alerted via wireless network – perhaps WiFi, Bluetooth or GPRS. For each deduction the sphere deflates by an amount representing the percentage of the budget that has been used. In the morning, the device can be re-inflated and a new daily budget set.

The deflation will indicate to the user in a personal and subjective way how much of the budget remains. The action of the sphere, and the wireless data transmitted to it is somewhat opaque to other persons, as opposed to transmitting or displaying a specific monetary amount. The purpose is to present a constant yet subtle and tangible manifestation of our personal economic status.

Are either of these ideas entirely practical? Perhaps not, but I’m glad to have taken a moment to muse on their respective scenarios.






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