Make any Appliance Smart With the Google-funded Synthetic Sensor

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The Synthetic Sensor | Carnegie Mellon University | Gierad Laput

A new, general-purpose sensor could make any home appliance smart. With such a universal approach, there would be no need to buy many, expensive smart devices.

The potential for the interconnectivity of all the world’s devices, more generally referred to as the Internet of Things, drives major brands to compete for control of this promising, future world market.

CMU's Synthetic Sensor can turn any appliance into a smart device. Click To Tweet

In order to turn the physical world into one giant information system, manufacturers need to integrate an array of special sensors in devices to bring them to life and connect them to the Cloud.

The Synthetic Sensor | Carnegie-Mellon University | Gierad Laput

Sensors, the Spearhead of the Internet of Things

Last January, Zion Market Research released a report that analyses the current state and perspectives of the IoT sensor market, covering the period from 2016 to 2022. The study includes all types of sensors (accelerometers, temperature sensors, pressure sensors, light sensors, gyroscopes, magnetometers and others) and applications, such as consumer electronics, retail, automotive, healthcare, building automation, and the general manufacturing industry.

Globally, the IoT sensor market is forecasted to reach over $27 billion USD net worth in 2022, up from $7.5 billion USD in 2016. From 2017 to 2022, the market’s CAGR (compound annual growth rate) would grow at 24%.

The ZMR study also provides insights into the companies that have begun to dominate the IoT sensor market. These include Robert Bosch GmbH, Infineon Technologies, Honeywell International Inc., Ericsson and Digi International, InvenSense, Libelium, ARM Holdings Plc., STMicroelectronics N.V., and others.

The Synthetic Sensor to Smarten up any Device

Surely, this is unnerving news for smart sensor manufacturers.

A plug-and-play master sensor designed by Carnegie-Mellon University scientists could shake the IoT sensor market. Researchers from the FIG lab at CMU have designed a smart sensor that is just a few centimeters wide which could bestow any appliance in the house with smart, AI capabilities all in a matter of seconds.

The Synthetic Sensor | Carnegie Mellon University | Gierad Laput

Funded and supported by many corporations and institutions, CMU’s FIG, Future Interfaces Group, is a research lab that develops sensing and interface technologies.

The research project benefited from the support of Google as FIG lab is part of the Open Web of Things, a Google-funded IoT research initiative.

The Synthetic Sensor, as it’s called, is a square board rigged with different types of tiny sensors: thermometer, barometer, magnetometer, infrared detector, microphone, RGB color sensor, smoke detector.

The prototype, unveiled last week at the ACM CHI conference in Denver, plugs into a power outlet and connects via Wi-Fi to the cloud. It then collects all data from the household environment and turns ordinary objects into smart devices.

The team behind the Synthetic Sensor published a demo video that you can watch here.

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