The Internet of Things Needs a New Kind of Sensor

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 9.04.39 PM
Left: Inside the sensor. Right: A demo app that uses the sensor data.

“I have been looking for some time for a camera to complement my smart home and I came to the conclusion that there is no product in the market that provides a decent solution for the user”, reads the introduction to a blog post I read the other day. This is particularly true of the Smart Home market, and any other market that deals with humans. Now, making a camera that solves all needs (human tracking, face recognition, people counting, etc …) is not straightforward, but that does not mean companies should not try to cover at least a small set of such desirable solutions. I believe there can be a demand for such things, but most people don’t know they need one yet.

The problem, seems to me, to be one of perception. While most people tend to consider a temperature or a light sensor a simple plug-and-play hardware that can be easily connected to a Smart Hub, camera solutions tend to be thought of as complex projects developed for a specific task and product. Why should this be the case? Many people, from Internet of Things (IoT) companies to makers, could benefit from an advanced plug-and-play “camera sensor”. One that could easily be plugged to your home hub, car, or any other Internet-enabled device and give access to its rich data (people id, objects recognized, etc) through its application programming interface (API).

Because I believe such things should exist, and because I believe once available many will benefit from it, I decided to create one such smart camera sensor. I am happy to introduce an early prototype of Project Jammin’s Face Sensor for the IoT, whose primary goal is to sense human emotions in real-time and without the need for cloud-based services. This sensor will offer the following functionalities and advantages out-of-the-box:

  • Facial emotion analysis
  • Face recognition
  • Attention tracking
  • Offline and real-time processing
  • Small and affordable
  • Protect your privacy, no need to send video data to the cloud
  • Convenient API to collect detected emotions, faces, attention
  • Ability to build your own apps and systems with emotion sensing

This product, once it goes into production, will be suitable for retail, where it can be used to detect people’s reactions and attention to products. In education, such sensor can be used to monitor kids and determine best study times, preferred topics, etc. Smart homes could benefit by adding emotion-based automation, just imagine if your home could adjust the lights, temperature, and music based on how you feel. Healthcare is another area in which this sensor could be useful, by placing it in front of sick patients or the elderly, one could monitor their recovery based on their emotions. The limit is your imagination. While emotion detection is not a new thing, I have not found yet an offering that just works, like these proximity, temperature, etc, sensors that now proliferate.

Please find in the following video a demo of Project Jammin’s Face Sensor for the IoT:

 

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