Nabaztag was able to send and receive MP3s and messages or RSS-feeds to be read out loud, such as weather forecast, news headlines, or performing the function of an alarm clock to name a few.
This was very much akin to an internet radio but in a funny shape which didn’t take-off. Since then, the company’s focus moved from connection alone to data collection and interpretation, effectively trying to make sense of the data collected by multi-purpose smart sensors.
This time, the form factor is different, one main Internet-connected hub called Mother (through an Ethernet cable and soon via WiFi) collects the data from nearby Motion Cookies (up to 24 of them tracking the activity of objects or people) and relays this information to the cloud for easy access by third-party applications running on smartphones.
Do you take too much coffee?
Because they are not dedicated to one specific use (like a fitness bracelet), Sen.se says its products are aimed at casual consumers (90% of them) who could find a use for versatile activity trackers, at a much lower cost than dedicated solutions.
What’s more, these cookies can be repurposed from one application to another, at any time. Based on the selected application (Sen.se puts forward a number of applications but is also encouraging third parties to develop their own applications), the cookies will capture and analyse movements accordingly, identifying the movement’s signature to recognize sets of actions.
Do you have snacks between meals?
This could be monitoring a fridge-door, a coffee-machine (it vibrates when brewing coffee), indicating the presence or absence of someone (wearing one of those cookies), monitoring your sleep (a cookie under the mattress). As well as recording the data, all these actions can trigger SMS or email notifications as the Big Mother kindly reports to whoever owns and configures the cookies.
Do you drink enough water?
The Motion Cookies communicate their data whenever they are in proximity (typically within a similar range as WiFi) of their Mother, otherwise, they can just store the motion and temperature data for up to ten days until they get a chance to offload it through a proprietary radio link (at 868MHz in Europe, 915MHz in North America).
Equipped with a tri-axial accelerometer (ST’s LIS3DH ), a temperature-sensor and running on TI’s MSP430 ultra-low power MCU, these 50x22x4mm units are low power enough to run for a year on CR2016 button cells, or several months when in constant motion.
“For four years, we’ve tried every available standard radio protocol, but none of them would allow battery-operation for long enough with the type of data we want to communicate” explained Haladjian, “and believe me, no one wants to develop a proprietary protocol for the fun of it, but in the end it was cheaper and more energy-efficient”. “The data packets we send can vary depending on the level of aggregation, sometimes a Motion Cookie will have to send from 14 to 20 packets several bytes each” he continued.