The future of smart home technology in Trinity College

Lorna Lawless

Students in Trinity College create prototypes for smart home technology.

Third-year Engineering with Management students from Trinity College unveiled prototypes of the smart home technology of the future

The showcase was held in the Science Gallery Dublin on the April 2nd.

It was the result of eight month’s work, where teams of three or four students, were tasked with developing product concepts in response to a real-world design prompt. The year the idea was to “develop a smart technology for the home that addresses a problem”.

Assistant Professor in Trinity’s School of Engineering, Conor McGinn, lecturer of the Engineering with Management module, told The College View that “the overall goal of the course is to empower students to apply their creativity and technical skills to create products that address real problems and have the potential to make real impact.

This was an especially talented and driven group of students, and given the opportunities, I think they will go on to apply their skills in very positive ways for the betterment of the society.

With the help of Science Gallery Dublin, who partnered with us in organising the event, we were able to give the students a platform to showcase their skills and ingenuity to the public as well as invite attendees from industry, government agencies and the broader college community.”

When developing ideas, these teams were required to first conduct product benchmarking as well as a detailed patent and standard reviews. After drafting a product design specification, which targeted the specific product identified, also targeted demographic and product criteria the teams them went and made their prototype.

Then these projects were put through systematic evaluation processes, where a final concept was chosen. When the prototype was chosen then a proof of the prototype was developed, followed by a higher resolution prototype which was then demonstrated at the showcase.

Pill-O-Clock was one of the prototypes at the showcase. This is an automated pill dispenser to help people better manage their medication schedules. The device comprises three or more chambers where tablets can be stored securely and provides notifications to users through audio or via smartphone/watch alerts.

Deafbell was another prototype showcased at the Science Gallery Dublin which enables alerts and notifications to be communicated reliably and discretely to hearing impairments. Their prototype involved a wristband that wirelessly connects to a range of smart home applications, including existing doorbell technology.

Senseable is an object detecting belt that helps people with visual impairments navigate more efficiently. The belt is equipped with eight ultrasonic sensors that can pick up nearby objects.

Guardian angels created a smart speaker system that can detect users in the vicinity and selectively provide alerts or notifications. They created a module containing a wirelessly operated speaker connected, a PIR sensor and a person-detecting vision system that could identify humans in an image.

The last prototype on display was Forget Key Not which helps people locate items within their home. The system uses a notification system, which triggers an audio alert to the users when they open the front door, ensuring they have no forgotten something important.

Lorna Lawless

Image Credit: Irish Tech News