A Smart Home system that respects privacy
On some occasion I have commented how little I like Smart Home Systems because of the enormous amount of data they collect from those who live in it and the lack of privacy that this implies for all its occupants.
But people do not stop investigating the subject, in order to be able to get “information” that may be useful to users and that does not affect their privacy.
At the beginning of April, a study was published in the IEEE Internet of Things Journal on an intelligent environment system called Chameleon and developed at MIT, which is based on passive infrared sensors and others that measure carbon dioxide in the environment. ( CO2 ).
The information collected by these sensors is not “invasive” for people because there are no cameras that can recognize people. These sensors detect the number of people in the room, and what they are doing physically by the way they breathe.
In the lower photo you can see the device with sensors that is placed on a wall and connects to a Wi-Fi network to send the information they collect.
By means of Artificial Intelligence ( Maching Learning ) the system is intelligent enough to infer what people do without needing to know who each person is. And as time goes by, it learns more and more obtaining more and better information about what is happening in the environment.
The researchers have carried out tests in two different settings: in an office with people working and in a classroom with about 15 students.
The study was carried out for a month, and after a week there was already a lot of data on what was happening in both environments with high precision.
This type of information can be very useful for building maintenance, making decisions about consumption, etc… and using it in the construction of buildings, in urban planning, etc…
The more non-personalized data we have, the better our living environments can be organized and planned. That makes people’s lives easier, and we can see that it’s not very expensive to do. It’s just about being a little creative and respectful of people’s privacy.
Intelligent environments and homes yes, but with privacy always ahead.