We’ve come so far since the 90s, when Bluetooth evolved into wireless headsets, transmitting private conversations to users who would talk openly… into air. Last month we found that Bluetooth Low-Energy (LE) was low-power, simpler to pair and easier to access data. In a Labs Sprint, our teams set out to create cool, smart products — something better than a headset — in 2.5 hours or less:
Recording the nuances of office life using Bluetooth LE
Every office has a mood and it shifts with the influence of every person and every situation. It can be tense, happy or sad. A good day for me would be a cycle of mad, fluffy and jive’n. The reality is that we get lost in the mood and rarely stop to acknowledge what is happening until it is too late. So what if you could record these happenings and have them reflected back at you in real-time? How would you react? Would you take more of a conscious role in changing the office mood by changing your behaviors?
For this Sprint, we will leverage connected-technology to record the nuances of life within the office. In the spirit of the Internet of Things, this data is collected by making everyday objects and actions in the office recordable. The data is then bucketed and associated with a specific mood. For example, we established a scale of one to ten based on how many people commune in a specific room during a specific part of day and how noisy they become.
Now that we have a series of “mood-meter” data buckets, we focused on a way to reflect the mood back into the office. The goal is to create real-time awareness and influence change. For this, we’ve created Mojo, a 3D animated monster that is always alive on a 60″ LCD screen. Mojo’s personality is based on a cumulative average of each individual in the office coupled with an extreme affinity for the Untold brand. How Mojo responds to the office data is dependent upon how he feels about (for example) noise during a particular part of the day. His response might be a frustrated “Blaaaaaaargh!” or he just might pull out his guitar and rock out because he knows loud talking means serious collaboration. And collaboration is celebrated at Untold.
So here my salute to the connected future and a big Happy Birthday to Mojo. He is a welcome member of the team and we are excited to laugh with him, cry with him and open our minds to his tutelage of what it really means to be Untold.
Golf balls that record your performance on the course
One original Sprint pitch was to embed a Bluetooth Sensor into a golfball, aka “BlueBalls”, but the reality of our situation was that there was no way to accomplish such a lofty goal in four hours, so we scaled back our scope.
The tech team focused purely on exploring the communication between an iOS device and a Texas Instruments SensorTag. We wanted to create a plug-in for Cordova that would enable someone to easily write an iOS app that could connect to a BLE device. To our dismay, after combing through the source code that shipped with the SensorTag, we found that the UI code was tightly intertwined with functional chunks that allowed a device to connect. Much of the Sprint was spent sifting through the mess. While we were able to finally extract the snippets we needed, a victory in its own, we did not successfully link up Cordova to our core functions.
Enhancing infant products with the Internet
The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has come and gone and although Las Vegas is typically an adult’s playground, this year the babies made their presence known. Bluetooth Low Energy (or LE) has been targeted at novel applications in healthcare, fitness, security, home entertainment and now has infiltrated the baby monitoring industry. A few of these baby monitors utilizing Bluetooth LE were on hand at CES 2014.
The Mimo Baby Monitor is comprised of a “Kimono” and a turtle-shaped sensor of which measures breathing, skin temperature, body position, and movement. The info is relayed via Bluetooth LE to a Wi-Fi docking station which transmits the data to a smartphone app.
Sproutling keeps tabs on babies through a small monitor that slips onto a baby’s ankle, reminiscent of a criminal’s ankle bracelet. It comes with a base station, small camera and a companion smartphone app. The App will send an alert in case there are any warning signs with the baby. Shipping is planned in Q2 of 2014. Plans are to produce a variety of devices and services that help use data to raise “parenting IQ”.
Sensible Baby monitors a baby’s position, temperature and movement on a smartphone or tablet. It is in the conversation of wearable technology but doesn’t mention many more details as they are just taking reservations now.
Many more competitors are sure to come advancing the technology of baby monitoring. One thing is for certain, the days of sitting idly by a speaker listening for a cry from your child are fading fast. The Nursery Reboot is coming!