Imagining Technology Futures – wireless sensors

A technology that is pushing the boundary of what is possible is wireless sensors.

We are moving into a time of pervasive applications that will continuously monitor the surrounding environment and react to changes. This will be supported by wireless sensor technologies that are capable of tracking and transmitting real time data.

An interesting pre-commercial example of this is Carnegie Mellon University’s SenSay Context Aware mobile phone. The researchers note that it can manipulate “ringer volume, vibration, and phone alerts… provide remote callers with the ability to communicate the urgency of their calls, make call suggestions to users when they are idle, and provide the caller with feedback on the current status of the SenSay user.” (

The device has a number of sensors on various points on the phone user’s body to provide data about the user’s context. The phone then analyses the sensor data and “alleviates the cognitive load on users by various methods including detecting when the user is uninterruptible and automatically turning the ringer off.” This innovative design allows the phone to makes decisions for the user about whether or not the phone user should be disturbed by a call.

Author: Kate Carruthers

Kate Carruthers is Chief Data & Insights Officer for UNSW Sydney, and is also an Adjunct Senior Lecturer in the School of Computer Science & Engineering. She is certified in information security and is currently undertaking postgraduate studies terrorism and security. Kate has extensive experience in senior roles in ICT, marketing, data and digital; and is a member of the NSW Government’s Data Analytics Centre Advisory Board. Kate is currently working at the intersection of data analytics, AI, ML, privacy, cyber security, and data protection.

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