With new sensors, a phone that detects emotion (and more)

Altimeter sensors, heart monitors, sweat sensors, temperature sensors and humidity sensors will soon make smartphones smarter.

Smartphones are packed with all sorts of sensors, from gyroscopes to ambient light sensors to, of course, GPS.

That bundle of sensors allows them to do amazing things: geotag your photos, dim the screen in the dark, switch the screen from vertical to horizontal based on how you're holding the handset. That's why they're called "smart" -- these electronic components give the devices the intelligence to respond to the world around them.

That intelligence grows with each new generation. According to a report on the New York Times Bits blog, smartphones and other consumer electronics will soon see new types of sensors that can tell you your heart rate, your mood and what floor you're on in a skyscraper.

STMicroelectronics' Benedetto Vigna says altimeter sensors, heart monitors, sweat sensors, temperature sensors and humidity sensors will soon make smartphones, well, smarter -- changing the way we interact with them and the world.

Nick Bilton reports on one use case:

Mr. Vigna said some technology companies were working on ways to increase security and privacy on mobile phones with sensors. One way to do this is to build software that detects how you hold and interact with the device — almost like a motion fingerprint. After you use a new phone for a short period of time, it will start to learn your patterns and automatically lock or unlock the phone accordingly. This could be used for more secure banking too.

It's not just phones, either. Any kind of device -- from your oven to the light hanging over your kitchen table to the parcels you send in the mail -- can gain these smarts. Get ready for a more efficient world.

The Sensors Are Coming! [NYT]

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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