Home systems that communicate needed information in a low energy consumption sound a bit like the Holy Grail for the connected home. If the Wally sensor does what it claims, it might be the sip from the Grail the IoT is needing to finally breakthrough in this long promised industry.
Wally’s purpose is to monitor moisture, temperature and humidty levels in critical spaces in your home so you aren’t caught by surprise with mold or mildew, or having a burst pipe destroy precious space. While the name sounds like it was stolen straight off a Pixar film, the device itself looks less like a trash robot and more like a baby monitor. With simple, clean lines and minimal buttons, it is likely this bot got EVE’s design genetics.
What is intriguing is how Wally accumulates data. The claim is that the sensors transmitting data can last up to 10 years on one battery. This is accomplished through low energy transmissions that utilize the hardwires in the walls to carry communications.
Based on the white paper, “SNUPI: Sensor Nodes Utilizing Powerline Infrastructure,” drafted by Wally’s creators, they have found a way to send data without much effort at all using Power line communication technology. Imagine wireless communications as something akin to you have to throw a ball across a field into a net — the energy it takes to do so comes with a large burst to make sure it can cover the distance. But what accomplishing the same task was just a matter of dropping the ball into a river nearby that passed through the net? The energy consumed is minimal, letting the river do all the work.
Wally has potential to be a great tool in ensuring home safety and if it takes off, I could see insurance companies giving discounts for the use of such home systems. You can reserve a WallyHome system now, but it won’t be in your hands until Spring 2014. Just in time for those April showers and thaws that could bring flooding or burst pipes.
Related: Home Sensor Systems Roundup