In collaboration with the Coreplast Laitila company, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has created a reflector that can be wirelessly controlled via a mobile phone application. This involves equipping a traditional reflector with sensors, LED lights, and wireless charging and communication.
For example, when a pedestrian is approaching a dangerous crossing the reflector can be made to blink and alert car drivers. In the future, it could communicate directly with smart traffic lights or cars to warn e.g. a turning truck driver that a pedestrian is in the area of a crossing.
The Internet of Things adds a touch of magic to everyday objects
The new smart reflector is a concrete example of enhancing everyday objects with completely new functionalities by connecting them to the Internet of Things (IoT). For example, a group of kindergarten kids can be given a common indicator colour that makes it easier to keep the group together. If one child wanders too far from the others, his or her reflector can be made to blink in a bright warning colour. It is also possible to connect the reflector to other on-line activities such as mobile gaming, which could make it more attractive among teenagers. Reflectors could be set to shine in a common tribal colour or to react in real-time to gaming actions and to the track to which the user is listening.
"We are actively seeking new concepts and ideas based on which IoT technology can be used to create new types of services and bring a little more magic into our everyday lives," explains Vesa Pentikäinen, Research Team Leader at VTT.
The smart reflector prototype will be publicly presented for the first time at Coreplast Laitila's stand (Hall 4.2, stand B15) at the Paperworld 2016 Trade Show in Frankfurt, Germany, 30.1. – Feb. 2,2016.
Vesa Pentikäinen, Research Team Leader
Olli Kuusisto, Senior Scientist