Making Smartphones Smarter Maybe Too Smart

Many people were blown away as they explored their iPhone’s capabilities for the first time. Making Smartphones Smarter Maybe Too Smart. Not only could they call, text, and email, they could use their phone as a flashlight, a level, a compass, a GPS device, and a price scanner, just to name a few. As amazing as those features were, and still are in my opinion, this year’s Grand Prize winner of the annual Create the Future Design Contest seeks to push smartphone capabilities even further.

The Sensordrone, created by Sensorcon, Inc., is a sensor manufacturer’s nightmare, and a curious consumer’s dream. It is a multi-sensor device designed to be attached to a keychain that communicates wirelessly via Bluetooth to the user’s smartphone.

The Sensordrone contains an array of sensors, enabling it to be used as a carbon monoxide detector, natural gas leak detector, stud finder, light intensity monitor, color detector, thermometer/temperature reader, barometric pressure monitor, humidity monitor, and even a breath alcohol analyzer. So now you have even less of an excuse for rolling down your window with a nervous smile and saying “What seems to be the officer problem?”

Making Smartphones Smarter Maybe Too Smart. Each type of measurement is processed by a specific app. Without Sensordrone, if you wanted to measure the temperature in your garage and then analyze it for carbon monoxide, you would have to change sensors. With Sensordrone, just change from the temperature app to the carbon monoxide app. It’s really that simple.

I have to add as I’m writing this that the presence of the natural gas sensor made me think how hilarious it would be to have a, ahem, “gas passing” app come with this device. Well, guess what, somebody already made one. There really IS an app for that.

In addition to reading data real-time, you can set Sensordrone in record mode and leave it running all day, then download it to your computer at the end of the day. If you wanted to know the temperature, humidity, and sunlight levels of your garden, simply place your Sensordrone in your garden, set it to record mode, then collect the results at the end of the day.

Making Smartphones Smarter Maybe Too Smart. The apps that are currently being advertised with Sensordrone are just the beginning. It will be open software so any developers or hackers who have the time and skill can write their own app for the device. In addition to the ease of expansion on the software side, the Sensordrone also has an expansion connector that allows other sensors not included in the device to be hooked up to it.

Sensorcon created a working prototype for the design contest, and after taking home the $20,000 grand prize, they launched a Kickstarter campaign online to get adequate funding to hire fulltime developers to bring this product into production for the consumer market. The product is being developed now and Sensorcon is taking pre-orders for $175 each.

I’m excited to see how far Sensorcon can take this device. There is a dog where I work that knows well ahead of time when bad weather is coming, regardless of what the news reports say. How about an Animal Instinct app?

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