Lloyd Alter is visiting the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas as a guest of Bosch, and is looking at how technology will change the way we live.
The word on everyone's lips this year is the Internet of Things, defined by Robert Ouellette of MeshCities as "the embedding of computing in the world around us." This has all kinds of possibilities and promise, but is also, frankly, a little scary. An example of where this might all be going is a French product called Mother.
Perhaps inventor Rafi Haladjian never saw Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, but there is definitely something about Mother that is a bit off. You plug her into your router and she detects the presence of "motion cookies" that you can attach to things, so that you know how long your kid brushes his teeth for, how many expressos you drank, how many steps you walked, everything that you do can be monitored and analyzed.
As with your real mother, Mother cares about you and loves you. Yet this Mother is programmable. You decide what aspects of your life you want her to handle and she tunes to your current needs. Unlike other devices that specialize in only one area, this Mother knows how to help you in many areas of your daily life: fitness, health, security, well-being and comfort. You decide how she can help simplify your life, ultimately helping you live better, healthier and happier.
The cookies are powerful little things, smaller and more intelligent than a house arrest ankle bracelet.
Mother is the head of a family of Motion Cookies, a unique, new generation of multipurpose, autonomous sensors that connect real-life actions, detecting and understanding movements, temperature and more. Small and slick, yet powerful with the exceptional ability to analyze, find patterns, learn and continuously readapt, turning everyday objects into something smart.
“Mother is the first true advent of the Internet of Things in everyday life,” said Haladjian. “We have made sensors that unobtrusively blend into your life. She offers the knowledge and comfort you want, when and how you want it, all while remaining discreet.”
But there are some things that perhaps people don't want mother to know. This may be a brilliant bit of engineering, but I wonder if we aren't entering a world where there is just too much information on that Internet of Things. Too little privacy. Too few controls.
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