Siemens is developing a mobile communications device that’s based on an unconventional approach: In contrast to a cell phone, the MyAy delivers the most benefit to its users when they aren’t carrying the device with them. The diminutive device is designed to alert the user when something unforeseen happens. There is a report on the MyAy in the latest issue of the research magazine "Pictures of the Future". What’s more, MyAy dispenses with a display and features a number of sensors and an easy-to-use keypad. MyAy’s integrated mobile radio module maintains contact with other cell phones, making it a classic always-on device. In the future there will most likely be two types of mobile communications devices: those that users always carry with them, and devices that perform their functions in the home or at other remote locations.
Just like the latest cell phones, the square device fits easily in a user’s back pocket. The first version of the MyAy is equipped with a microphone, a speaker and a number of sensors. An infrared sensor, for example, detects moving objects in the device’s surroundings.
An acceleration sensor, in turn, detects when the device itself is being moved. The temperature sensor and sound sensor installed in the MyAy make the mobile device suitable for many applications — as a mobile baby phone, for example, or as a car alarm system or an alarm for vacationing users.
Thanks to the Java platform concept, MyAy users can run their favorite applications on the device to perform a variety of tasks. If a certain sound level is reached or an object moves in front of the device’s infrared lens, MyAy transmits a warning via SMS or establishes a telephone connection to a pre-selected cell phone number. If the device is left in a car or a vacationer’s tent, for example, it can notify the owners if someone is tampering with their property.
Plans call for the first MyAy version to be tested in the spring of 2005, in cooperation with several mobile communications companies. It’s conceivable that a later version of the device might feature an integrated camera. This would also make it possible for the MyAy to transmit its own position via the integrated GPS module. The electronic watchdog can be programmed via SMS, a Java application, a website or a WAP-enabled cell phone.