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LARK is a silent alarm clock that wakes the user up in a gentle manner without disrupting the sleep of others around them. Made to be worn on the wrist, the material is light and breathable to provide comfort for the user while they are asleep. The LARK alarm clock works by sending silent vibrations to the user’s wrist according to the time they set it to be woken up on. The device only works with iOS so it could only be paired with the iPhone, the iPad, or the iPod Touch.
LARK comes with a dual dock that allows the user to charge both their phone and their wristband. The device also doubles ups as a sleep tracker to learn the user’s sleeping patterns to ensure that they optimize their rest time and maintain a consistent and healthy sleep cycle.
I feel that the biggest consideration taken by the creators while developing this device is the silent feature in the alarm clock. Unlike conventional alarm clocks where the rings or sounds that are released are made loud to wake the user up, LARK makes sure that only the user is woken up without alarming others that may share the same sleeping space as the user. LARK understands how users differ in sleep cycles and how each and everyone of us gets up at different times. Having the dual function where the wristband tracks the user’s sleep cycle also gives LARK an edge among its competitors.
For the final project, I am interested in creating a new locking device that requires a pictorial key in order for you to unlock the locking mechanism. This idea came from my ongoing research presentation on house apparatus where I will be discussing about ‘Smart Home’.
We normally get home security systems that require us to use a combination of numbers or a passcode in order for us to unlock the door and get into the house. With this idea that I have came up with, all the home owners have to is to draw a picture or a pattern on the drawing pad on their smart phones and have the locking device capture it in its camera. The device will then store that image and lock their homes. The home owners would then have to flash the same image in order to unlock their homes.
The device not only allows home owners to come up with more creative and more complex pictures to have their homes more secure but it also enables them to have the ‘passcode’ or the image refreshed every single time they leave the house. The locking mechanism however, allows you to unlock from the inside of the house without a password. One or more images can be stored in the locking device in the case where there are more than one person in the household. Alternatively, homes that have more than one household member will be able to share the pictures that they have drawn with each other to have one common ‘passcode’ to unlock the locking mechanism.
Additionally, if you have guests or require someone outside of the household to access your home, you could send them the pictorial password.
TrackR is a coin-sized wireless device, developed by engineers Chris Herbert and Christian Smith, that allows you to find your lost or misplaced items within seconds using an app on your smartphone. Due to its tiny size, the TrackR is portable and could be fitted into your wallet or attached to your keys, your bags, and other belongings.
It tracks your misplaced items by using GPS to determine its location. With features like the ‘distance indicator’, the app will also alert you if you are within close proximity to the item you are looking for. The great thing about the TrackR is that its function is also interchangeable with your smartphone. If you were to ever lose your smartphone, a click of a button on the TrackR would sound an alarm for you to easily find your missing phone.
There is an additional feature for the TrackR called the ‘Crowd Locate network’ where when another TrackR user is within the bluetooth range from your lost item, you will receive the most updated location of it from the app.
What I like most about this device is the function that it serves and how it has been optimized to help you find your items in the best ways possible. The fact that it has been integrated and made into an app makes it even more convenient for users since almost everyone anywhere already has a smartphone. I also like how you the function is interchangeable where the TrackR could be used to locate your lost smartphone.
Additionally, this device could be used to lower the chances of bike thefts or even other belongings that you may leave outdoors where they are much more prone to be stolen. However, I can also see how the TrackR could be used in a malicious way where it could be easily latched on to other people and have their movements tracked without them being aware of it. The TrackR, even as a helpful device, could in turn be used for crimes if it falls on the wrong hands.
It was an incredible experience at the Human+ exhibition held at the ArtScience Museum. They displayed an array of inventions, innovations and installations that pushed concepts and ideas that we thought would only exist in the science-fictional world. From physical augmentations to emerging technologies, and even genetic and body modifications, the projects explore future possibilities for humans in terms of survival, social interactions, and artistic expression.
I was particularly drawn to a piece called ‘The Optimization of Parenthood, Part 2‘, done by artist and mother Addie Wagenknecht. It consists of a robotic arm that substitutes the role of a parent by rocking the cradle every time it hears the baby cry.
Photo taken from the ArtScience Museum
Photo taken from the ArtScience Museum
What I find most interesting about this robot is that it came from a simple idea of tackling an issue that most parents, especially mothers, have go through when it comes to caring for their infants while having to balance work and other activities. Wagenknecht’s concern came from how artists like her, who are mothers too, could possibly lose the creative practice they have earned when they get too preoccupied in raising their babies. This machine not only eases the job of the parent, but also helps the crying child to put them to sleep in a consistent, time-efficient and effective manner.
Beyond just being a tool, I feel that this robot is a small step in eliminating the social stigma that women get when they choose to work instead of staying at home to take care of their children and their household. This invention could pave the path for more innovations in the future that would substitute many other tasks in parenting that consumes too much time and effort.
Imagine having robot nannies taking over the job of parents while they focus on their careers and continue to build a better home for the family. Life would be so much easier and the pressure of raising a child would be lighter. However, even with the most complex designs and advances in technology, there are always margins for errors in AIs and machines which could do more damage than good, and put us all at a disadvantage.
So where do we draw the line? How far do we go to replace human abilities with artificial ones? And could we trust these machines enough to progress to a better future for our species? Those were the questions that popped into my head when I was going through the exhibition. And frankly, even though I am all for future innovations in technology, I do fear the extents that they could surpass.
Here’s a video showing how the robot arm works: