A Mother for our Smart Home
Have you ever wished that your mother still lived with you, to remind you to get enough sleep, drink enough water, and take your medicine? Now she can. Sen.se provides a small, white, slightly creepy replacement Mother who can provide all of this with more to come.
Mother originally won a multitude of awards at CES in 2014 and in 2015 the Sen.se booth was one of the busiest in the smart home section of the conference. Mother is a simple, flexible and clever hub with customizable sensors called “Cookies,” that measure temperature and movement. With Mother and these simple sensors, you can quickly customize apps and attach the cookies to “smartify” different things in your home and life.
Mother comes beautifully packaged in a bright red box, with four cookies to get started. Everything is quite cute – our mother’s name is Babette Nathalie, and our brightly colored cookies have fun names
like green caramel and wise apricot. She comes with some basic apps that take advantage of the cookies’ sensors – for example, you can add a cookie to your child’s backpack and know when she comes home, you can put a cookie under your pillow to track your sleep, or you can put a cookie on a precious object to make sure it stays in one place. The interface is very simple to set up and you can monitor your apps from your web “senseboard” or through the pocket mother app for your iphone, ipad, Android or Windows phone.
We have had our Mother for a few months now and are using the sleep monitor, a temperature monitor and the medication app to track our vitamins.
The vitamin monitoring app has probably been the most useful so far. We wrapped a cookie around one of our vitamin bottles and if we miss a daily intake, the Pocket Mother app sends a reminder to the iPhone (which, most recently, also hits the Apple Watch). It is surprisingly effective so we can’t wait to get our vitamin D tests again to see if it has made a noticeable impact. My only gripe with the Pocket Mother app is that it does not allow you to dismiss the reminder or pause the app if you are not home and not able to take your vitamins.
The sleep monitoring is ok, but because of its placement, it is not always perfectly accurate on bed and wake time. We tried to use the alarm a couple of times and it didn’t work – so have not been willing to rely on it.
One thing we’d like to see from the Mother is more apps. The initial apps available are cute, and there has been an open API for several months, but so far we haven’t seen any additional ones from the marketplace.
We wouldn’t really classify Mother as a smart home hub. It is a cute and customizable platform for monitoring movement, presence and temperature; and probably a great learning device for families to learn about the Internet of Things together and maybe even write some simple programs. Babette Nathalie has been a fun addition to AppMyHome but she won’t be controlling our lights and switches anytime soon.