January 13, 2014 by Grant Clauser
You likely know Bosch as the maker of high-end kitchen appliances. My own Bosch dishwasher has worked flawlessly for 6 years, and it wasn’t new when we moved into this house.
But Bosch isn’t just a kitchen and laundry manufacturer. The company is actually a leading innovator in MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical systems). It’s with MEMS development that Bosch has been able to create very small, but complex sensors, which connect at an Internet-of-Things level to other devices, enabling a host of automation possibilities.
At the company’s CES booth, Bosch demonstrated MEMS-based sensor devices to control or report on a large number of activities. Bosch’s sensors don’t monitor simple states, such as a basic magnetic contact sensor (which are frequently used on doors and windows in security automation systems). Micro actuators, motion detectors,light sensors, temperature and pressure sensors all can detect subtle changes in the environment, then report those changes to devices that take actions based on the system’s programming.
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The sensors can be configured to connect over any wireless protocol, such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Zigbee, DECT and others. A company representative said a German automation company is currently using Bosch sensors in a DIY system. Bosch has small sensors mounted all over the company’s CES booth, and the company demonstrators could connect via the smart phones to view status or control devices.
The benefit of multiple sensor capabilities within one device is that it’s able to detect greater subtlety than the simple on/off or open/close status of most current automation sensors, and with more accuracy. It could also cut down on the number of individual sensors required in a home installation.
Bosch was also touting similar technology for driverless cars. Another suggested use was for remote monitoring of senior loved ones.
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Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had training from THX, the Home Acoustics Alliance, Control4 and Sencore. His latest book is Necessary Myths
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.