Sensors: We're Just Getting Started
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I've been following Vayyar Imaging, an Israeli startup that provides radar imaging sensor technology for a few years. They provide a great example of how sensor tech is evolving to deliver business opportunities across multiple industries. The company originally focused on 4D radar imaging for detecting breast cancer by health professionals. But since then, the company’s hardware use cases have extended to other sectors, including retail, robotics, automotive, and smart homes.
For a comprehensive look at IoT systems, check out IoT Systems: Sensors and Actuators.
The company's state-of-the-art chip covers imaging and radar bands from 3-81Ghz, with up to 72 transceivers in each chip and an integrated high-performance DSP. Vayyar's multi-antenna sensor produces unprecedented levels of accuracy, enabling high-resolution 4D point-cloud images. For example, Vayyar's powerful sensor technology can look through walls to detect structural foundations (see video below), track a person’s location and vital signs as they move through a smart home, measure the speed of a fast-moving ball, and help drones and cars avoid collisions. The company patents their tech and it's used across a range of sectors.
What If You Could Track People in Your Home Without Cameras?
The company recently launched Vayyar HOME, which again uses 4D imaging to detect falls and identify intruders — and, in case of an emergency, gets you help. Their upcoming health features include monitoring activity, sleep, and breathing, sending an alarm in case an anomaly is detected. It doesn't use cameras so provides a higher level of privacy.
The sensors monitor location, posture as well as vital signs, enabling behavioral monitoring such as time spent at rest, in and out of bed, nocturnal roaming, and restroom visits. Trends are detected, allowing for pre-emptive predictions of health conditions such as UTI, dementia, and disorders like sleep apnea and psychological ailments including loneliness.
In addition to new features, Vayyar HOME will be available in a new miniature 3.5-inch form factor that provides an extended range at an affordable price. Once placed on the wall, it automatically scans the environment monitoring health and safety. Information can be displayed on a real-time dashboard tracking activity throughout a facility, for example, providing simultaneous visibility of location, activity levels and vital signs for multiple people.
For security applications, Vayyar HOME protects people from intruders. The sensor detects when everyone has gone to sleep each night and activates itself, scanning all doors, windows and potential entrance points throughout the night. It works in light or dark and sees through smoke or steam. If an intruder attempts to enter, an alarm can sound, warning the occupants and deterring the intruder.
An Abundance of Opportunities
It's got some really interesting use case applications outside the home also. In a retail scenario, it can track the number of people in a store, their specific location and line lengths for example, without using cameras. She company sees a lot of potential in clothing retail where the tech can be used to facilitate contactless in-store scanning for clothing and shoe fit.
The MIMO radar-on-chip displays the dimension, location, breathing pattern and movement of people, utilizing proprietary 4D point-cloud VOXEL imaging. This means you can see inside the car regardless of lighting and weather. A single sensor inside the car can provide not only enhanced seat belt reminders but also enables what they call "Child Presence Detection", even if the infant is covered by a blanket, hidden in a car seat or in the foot well. One sensor can cover up to two full vehicle rows, while differentiating between children and adults.
The company's demand shows no sign of slowing. They've raised $188M in funding over seven rounds, the last being $109M in November last year.
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