Smart Homes are all about the ease of living at home. People yearn for more automated household chores (or, frankly, not having to do anything at all), healthier food, safer products, and overall savings while having easy and cool solutions for doing all this.
Smart Homes have so far been about things like connected home appliances, smart locks, and lighting, all controllable through a smartphone or voice control to make life at home easier and smoother. Much of the work in the past has gone to the development of home ecosystems and to make usability more convenient through voice control. This has helped to switch lights on and off, getting information on the internet, listening to music or ordering a pizza from the fluffy convenience of your own couch. However, few new innovations have been made to develop new ways of measuring what kind materials we handle in our everyday lives - and how to use that information to take the next step in Smart Homes.
Added value for homes
Applications so far have been relatively simple when thinking about measuring one’s surroundings and producing added value in homes. These applications have mainly consisted of measuring temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide and smoke. Many areas of measurement in regular homes have been outside of the capabilities of current technologies, such as textile identification for correct washing programs and recycling, stain recognition, cosmetics and hair analysis for optimal skin and hair care products, and plastics identification for better recycling and waste management.
Previous applications have not been able to measure food content, but nowadays fat, water, protein, and sugar content measurements have become possible for optimizing diets for people, and even pets. This enables exciting possibilities for doing all sorts of interesting stuff at home. For example, home brewers can now measure sugar and alcohol content during the brewing process and follow their progress on the phone.
Detecting fake medicine, fake food items, or whether that ‘silk’ scarf you got from your neighbor as a souvenir really is silk – there are virtually endless amounts of applications that are now possible. What about growing herbs and fruit at home? There’s no need to be afraid your citrus tree dies from drought anymore, as new applications enable moisture, soil, and lighting optimization. All this will not only make one’s life easier, safer and more interesting, but it will also help to fight climate change through resource and energy savings, recycling and food waste management – all while providing opportunities to save money at home.
A new era begins
All this might sound like science fiction to most, but the first step towards easier living was already taken when Spectral Engines and B/S/H/ - the global home appliance manufacturer behind brands such as Siemens and Bosch – released X-Spect, the first material scanner for consumers. The first application is textile and stain identification for easy and convenient programming of washing machines to enable the perfect washing result while saving detergent and energy.
This is only the first step that demonstrates the power of Spectral Engines NIRONETM sensor technology (which is also the core of X-Spect). B/S/H/ chose Spectral Engines as their sensor supplier due to the outstanding performance and flexibility of our technology and the profound expertise of our team. This same technology was used when Spectral Engines won the 1 million euro Horizon Food Scanner prize back in 2017, when we were able to prove for the first time that this technology works - and demonstrated the way to the future.
We at Spectral Engines with our partners are now the first company to bring a high-end measurement technology to the hands of consumers at an affordable price to enable a new era of Smart Homes. So, if you are a consumer, be on the lookout for this new generation of Smart Home products coming to your doorstep and beyond! If you are a business representative or owner and would like to get involved in realizing any of the above future Smart Home applications, or have your own idea, please be in contact with us at Spectral Engines and let us provide you with a right solution for you!
By Jarkko Antila, CEO, Spectral Engines