Sunday 27 January 2013

SenseEgg - The Caring Egg for you and your family

This good egg monitors the wellbeing of those who live on their own, young and old. We may have an accident, fall and who will know? You may know someone elderly or with Alzheimer's. If you are at home and possibly unwell and not eating regularly, the sensors in the egg will automatically send a text message to a friend or carer.  This is done by monitoring the status of your fridge, for example has it been opened recently?  No installation is required, just a simple setup of phone SIM card. A total of 5 sensors inside the egg monitor the well being of the fridge and it's usage, which can then infer the health of the person.   The fridge was chosen as a  frequently used appliance at home, for when we eat, drink tea or beer, or feed our pets.   If you have not opened your fridge for a few hours, a time you can choose yourself, then a text message is sent to a friend. An added benefit is a fridge light, a warm white LED which comes on automatically to light your fridge, just in case your fridge does not have one.  The battery life is estimated to be a year. Girton Labs  plan on using a trusted  UK partner and  manufacturer .

The image shows a 3D CAD rendering but the technology has the component parts (sensors, software,  GSM  modem) built and tested by Girton Labs. A mobile  phone signal will transmit and receive from inside a normal metal  fridge, tested with Samsung Galaxy S3.
It is the latest version of SenseBulb, the caring lightbulb,  as covered by the BBC News in 2009 here. This design was in the formfactor of a lightbulb but new mobile phone  technology  has enabled the monitoring system to be built into an egg sized formfactor.

Example SMS  text message

The 5 sensors monitor:

  • Fridge door opening, by ambient  light detected from kitchen and also movement of door
  • Correct temperature of fridge.
  • sound and motion sensor - if picked up in hand can determine user state and send message
  • touch - tap for settings
  • power saving sensors
  • fridge door left open alert

The entire egg will glow a variety of colours to indicate status, Red, alarm, fridge not opened for a while and text message sent. Other alerts  are  fridge temperature over 4C - amber flash , status ok -  blue , flashing green -  warning to user that you have not eaten for a while. An audio alert is provided.
There is no on/off switch required. Initial installation requires a phone number programmed into the egg. The case design will be waterproof and can be washed and dropped  (Protection to IP55). The two halves clip together with a waterproof seal to allow battery fitting.

Prototype proof of concept is based on Arduino. This reads sensor data and does the digital signal processing to decide when to send an alert.

Further Designs

The goal is for an initial low cost simple monitoring egg.
The Egg can also infer if the person in the house (e.g. mobile phone present).
Later designs may use  GPS location.
There is also a design for a finger sensor that can detect the health status of the person and decide is an alert needs to be sent.
A gas sensor may be used to detect decaying food.
Depending on how often  text messages sent and therefore battery drain, a contactless charger in the form of an eggcup may be used.

Designed by Lyndsay Williams, Girton Labs Ltd.
Contact Details Lyndsay Williams tel : +44 (0)7970 101578

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