Recently, there has been an increased amount of push on wearable technology to give us useful information on various aspects of our lives. From fitness trackers to sleep trackers to smart dog collars — the list of applications is endless.
Now, a new kind of wearable technology called MagnifiSense (get it?) hopes to sense what devices, appliances and vehicles you interact with throughout the day, to track your individual carbon footprint as opposed to that of just the device itself.
The technology, developed at the University of Washington, is a central component of a study being presented this week at the 2015 ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing.
According to the press release, the research "correctly classified 94 percent of users' interactions with 12 common devices after a quick one-time calibration, including microwaves, blenders, remote controls, electric toothbrushes, laptops, light dimmers, and even cars and buses."
The technology senses and tracks unique electromagnetic radiation signatures generated by electrical components or motors in various devices to discern when they are turned on or off, or even when you board a train.
The study's lead author, Edward Wang — a UW electrical engineering doctoral student — believes that the technology has a vast array of possible applications.
There is the potential for recognizing your preference for using an appliance by sensing whether it is an adult or a child turning on the television or tablet. The system could automatically display your preferred programs and settings based on this information.
It is also useful in assisted living situations such as nursing homes. The technology has the ability to track how efficiently elderly people are going about their everyday tasks, such as cooking or grooming, and also protect them from appliances that have been left on or have malfunctions.
The design of the device isn't the most appealing or non-intrusive, but the engineering team's hope is to consolidate the technology into a watch or a slimmer band for wider commercial use.