Innovations to the unassuming light bulb continue to amaze me, and Sengled’s new health-monitoring smart bulb is perhaps the most fascinating of the lot to date. Lighting fixtures have long been gravitating towards health and wellness functions (see circadian lighting and germicidal lighting) so, why not make the full leap to one that gives direct insight into the health and safety of occupants?
To be clear, when I say monitoring, there are no cameras involved: the bulb uses a radar sensor to measure basic vital signs such sleep quality, heart rate and body temperature, among others. The specifics are a little on the short side, as the product is still in development. Sengled doesn’t even have an expected price available at the time of writing.
One of the things that we do know, however, is that the bulbs will be capable of connecting with one another to develop a virtual map for occupant behavior in the home. This will be done, according to Sengled, by having the bulbs form a mesh network over Bluetooth connections.
An article by the Verge even states that the light bulb will be able to detect if someone falls in a home. What it does once it detects a fall has yet to be stated.
If true, this could make the fixture a welcome addition for independent living and aging-in-place scenarios. The ability to monitor the health and safety of an individual in an unobtrusive way would go a long way in promoting a greater sensation of freedom and security in the home.
The announcement of the bulb also comes alongside Sengled’s pledge towards Matter compliance with their new products. If you want to learn more about Matter, you can check out our article on it, but to put it simply, this will ultimately translate to greater interoperability and security among smart home products, which is good news given the data the bulbs will be collecting.
As smart devices close in on gathering health data from individuals, it poses a bit of a conundrum. Being able to gather vitals unobtrusively and regularly without expensive equipment is a great step forward in home diagnostics. However, keeping that information secure should remain an ever-present concern for smart home manufacturers.
Either way, the introduction of these smart bulbs and their release coinciding with that of the new Matter protocol, could provide a unique opportunity for designers and integrators alike when working with clients interested in having a more complete understanding of their health in the home, without the need of wearables.