Novel approach advances home and health sensors – Science Nation


[Music] Miles O’Brien:
They say knowledge is power. So, stand-by to take charge. With support from the
National Science Foundation, computer scientist Shwetak Patel and his team are developing
new sensing systems. Their goal is to empower people to make better-informed
decisions for themselves
and their homes. Shwetak Patel:
The initial focus was really around energy
and water monitoring. So, how do we provide users with really fine-grained
information about energy
and water consumption, so they can make decisions
about how to reduce their ecological footprint. Miles O’Brien:
With that in mind, they built a new generation
of smart sensors that puts a detailed breakdown
of your home energy usage at your fingertips. Shwetak Patel:
So, the energy monitor is actually a single device that you plug into
an electric outlet. Miles O’Brien:
Inside this box is a sensor that monitors
electronic interference on a home’s power line. Watch what happens to this
read-out when we turn on a lamp. That’s not just noise
in the system. It’s a signal. The trick is in figuring
out what it’s saying. Shwetak Patel:
And so, what we do is we use machine
learning on that signal to basically tease apart that – ‘Oh, you know, that’s the oven
that turned on or that’s the TV that turned on
or that’s a laptop.’ Miles O’Brien:
For water consumption, they did much the same thing. This time, a sensor screws
onto an outdoor faucet to monitor water pressure
changes in the plumbing. Shwetak Patel:
So, again, using pattern matching on those appliances,
we can say, ‘Oh, you know, the washing
machine just went off or you flushed the toilet
or the shower was running.’ So, now we can actually
break down the water usage down to each water fixture. Miles O’Brien:
Most of this technology has already been transferred to industry. Now Patel and his team
have set their sights on personal health monitoring. Shwetak Patel:
So, how do we take this noise and make it into
a signal of interest was kind of the core
of what we did for many years, and we’re taking that work and
applying it to other domains. Miles O’Brien:
They’re looking to take advantage of all the functionality
built into our smartphones. Here, the user would
opt-in to an app that uses the microphone to listen in the
background for coughs, [coughing sound] searching for patterns
that suggest a trip to the doctor
might be in order. Elliot Saba:
We construct these models that try and understand how sound works,
what its patterns are, and we give it a whole
bunch of examples of different kinds of audio, things like people talking, things like people
laughing, sneezing and, of course, coughing. Miles O’Brien:
This app uses a phone’s camera to check hemoglobin
levels in blood by analyzing the color
of capillary beds right through the skin. Edward Wang: Generally, what happens
is if you’re anemic, your blood is going to be
a little less red, and we take advantage of that. By putting your finger
over a camera on the phone, the camera of the phone
can actually see the coloration of the blood. Miles O’Brien:
And this test uses the camera to help nervous parents who are worried
about newborn jaundice. Alex Mariakakis:
Now, jaundice is something that doctors who have seen tons of babies can just kind of figure out
on a very basic level of, is this baby,
do they need a treatment or are they in a good condition? Whereas a first-time parent
has no idea necessarily what jaundice
might look like. Miles O’Brien: Patel says sensors like
these and many others will one day be commonplace and
more far-reaching than we think. Shwetak Patel:
For healthcare, doing things like prediction
of chronic diseases well before people
are symptomatic, thinking about predicting
traffic flows and pollution and those kinds of things. Now, we’re just trying
to create models where we can start to identify
issues well before they occur, so we can actually come in
and change the course of how those things
might happen. Miles O’Brien: Advancing
personal sensor technology, putting the tools for better
decision making in your hands. For Science Nation,
I’m Miles O’Brien.

One Reply to “Novel approach advances home and health sensors – Science Nation”

  1. every body now you know. this is it, in this stream almost no intrusion of cost of sensors or their inconveinence and your world will be enhanced to the next level. for the first time your drive will be safe. your house will waste nothing. your symptom and sighn will initiate treatment. your activity will shape your environment. let the internet of things coordinate and control.

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