Sense+ turns a smartphone dock into a potential life-saver
By Darren Quick
June 26, 2013
While most smartphone docks focus on bringing da noise to add some life to a party, the Sense+ Docking Station is designed to be a potential life-saver. The portable device packs built-in smoke and gas detection sensors to sound an alert in the event of fire. The Sense+ also works in conjunction with an accompanying app that automatically calls friends and family if the user doesn’t respond.
Rather than replacing them, Sense+ is designed to work alongside household ceiling-mounted smoke alarms. This is because most ceiling-mounted smoke detectors rely on ionization smoke detection and are generally more responsive to flaming fires, while the Sense+ features a photoelectric smoke sensor that is better at detecting smoldering fires (and which doesn’t contain any radioactive material). This is coupled with a second sensor that detects carbon monoxide, a gas that causes drowsiness and makes it more difficult for people to wake up.
If the dock detects smoke or carbon monoxide, it will sound an alarm and the accompanying app will ask the user to respond. If no response is forthcoming, the app will automatically call all the numbers listed in the phone’s home call group. The app will then display an alert screen offering to call emergency services, which the user can accept or decline.
The Sense+ is powered by mains power, but if the mains power goes down it can also run off the docked device’s battery or its own built-in battery. When powered by the mains, it also acts as a charger for the connected phone. The creators say a smartphone dock is an ideal device to feature a smoke alarm as most people keep their smartphone by their bedside while sleeping. The Sense+ is also compact enough to throw in a suitcase when traveling.
While the current model is designed for the iPhone 5, it also supports the connection of other smart devices via USB. The makers also have future versions planned for Android and Windows smartphones.
The Sense+ team is currently seeking funding through Indiegogo, with a pledge of US$79 scoring an iPhone 5 compatible dock, charging cable and USB wall power adapter. If the team reaches its $150,000 goal, deliveries are expected by November.
The video pitch for the Sense+, (which was called the emergency aide during development and still bears that name on the device), can be viewed below.