The animated sitcom, The Jetsons, only made 24 original episodes. Its viewers, however, were so enthralled by the exaggerated depiction of the future, that it continued to air for decades and remains to this day a common reference point for a futuristic lifestyle.
While The Jetsons is certainly a work of fiction, futuristic technology is no longer just an animator’s dream. We may not have flying cars yet, but we’re well on the way. Our homes are continuing to fill up with robots – from coffee makers to doorbells to lightbulbs. These IoT devices are primarily controlled through us (via our smartphones), and their technological capacities give us the power to make smart decisions with minimal effort.
However, our home-dwelling robots are currently disparate from each other. They typically operate independently rather than through one cohesive platform to give us a real “smart home.” Most things you do around the house require motion. Entering the door, for instance. Turning on the lights. Starting up the robot vacuum. The key to automating a home is being able to “see” all the motion that’s occurring, and interpret it.
Using Wi-Fi to See
When a person or object moves through a given space populated with Wi-Fi signals, the signals are disrupted. These disruptions can be picked up by a Wi-Fi radio receiver and categorized. “Seeing Wi-Fi” means we can perceive the underlying physical phenomenon that is causing the Wi-Fi network to change.
To get that insight, a variety of technologies is required, including digital signal processing, statistical methods and machine learning. These AI technologies can be used to figure out what’s causing a particular motion, then identify and eventually understand trends.
Why is using Wi-Fi to understand motion important?
At its most basic, detecting motion aids in security. Away from home? You likely want to know if there’s any movement. You may have scheduled a cleaning service worker to drop by at 2 p.m., but you may not be expecting commotion at 3 a.m. and would benefit from an alert.
Another use-case for motion awareness is remote monitoring for elder care or rental properties. Your elderly relative or rental guests likely wouldn’t appreciate you installing cameras to keep an eye on them, however the ability to gauge what’s going on without invading anyone’s privacy gives everyone peace of mind.
Cognitive Systems’ Aura WiFi Motion can identify and also understand motion, meaning it will learn and predict behavior over time. Eventually, it will learn to turn appliances off that aren’t used during certain parts of the day, which contributes to energy savings.
What is Actionable Motion?
What a user needs is a robust detection of motion and localization. People want to know what’s happening and where is it coming from, not to be made aware of unactionable things like heartbeats or breathing.
Actionable motion is motion that spurs a response – either automated or from a human individual. Aura WiFi Motion leads to learned behavior and automated outcomes, for example, the thermostat will set at a desired temperature when people arrive home, or the robot vacuum will start up once everyone has left for the day. Motion that occurs when it’s not supposed to could prompt an alarm system to deploy and send an urgent notification to the homeowner so that he or she can act.
Simply monitoring and being able to localize motion through Wi-Fi is a feat in and of itself, but a deeper level of value is provided through machine learning.
Machine learning takes some time to identify household trends and figure out what the anomalies are; for instance, a home with Aura WiFi Motion won’t know if someone entering the home at 2 a.m. is an anomaly until it’s had a chance to learn patterns, therefore it wouldn’t automatically deploy an alarm system. That being said, with Aura WiFi Motion, we are one step closer to achieving a truly smart home, and a future that more closely resembles what the creators of The Jetsons imagined it could be.