February 28, 2021
Nobi will watch over your grandparents, literally, from a ceiling mounted smart lamp

Nobi will watch over your grandparents, literally, from a ceiling mounted smart lamp


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Nobi

This story is part of CES, where our editors will bring you the latest news and the hottest gadgets of the entirely virtual CES 2021.

Nobi looks like an ordinary ceiling lamp at a glance, but it’s packed full of sensors and tricks to try to help senior citizens live independently for longer. Not only can the lamp detect falls and send out alerts to get help quickly, but it’s meant to prevent falls in the first place with activity monitoring and helpful reminders.

The startup behind the smart lamp are officially launching Nobi at CES, though it’s already had a soft launch at a few smaller events. They’ll be looking for partners to help them reach US markets, but will be ready in European countries as soon as March. 

Nobi will be available for professional installations in places like nursing homes first with a subscription cost of $119 a month including hardware. You’ll also eventually be able to buy a Nobi system outright starting at a whopping $2,499 with a $19 a month subscription thereafter, so the peace of mind it offers won’t come cheap. The cost will also vary based on the size of the home. 

To be most effective, the startup wants to put a Nobi in every room of the home. A smaller lamp called the Nobita can hang on the ceiling in rooms where the main fixture won’t fit, though the processor is in the bigger lamp so the smaller Nobita will need to route its communications through its bigger sibling. 

Each Nobi has four RGB sensors and it illuminates dark rooms with infrared light so it can see at night. The lamp has motion sensors and will cast a dim upward glow if your grandparent wakes up at an odd hour. If they get up to go to the bathroom, Nobi will brighten to illuminate the path. 

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Nobi

The motion sensors and infrared detection feed info to an internal processor with AI that understands different positions like sitting up or laying down. Nobi also supposedly can detect furniture, so it knows if a person is laying on a bed versus on the floor. If a fall occurs, a microphone within Nobi will ask if the person has fallen. Only a simple “no” response will stay the system. Otherwise, it will launch into its preprogrammed alerts. 

Based on your privacy settings, Nobi can send just the info that a person has fallen. It can send abstract images, or it can send full RGB imagery to family, caregivers or emergency services in order to get help. The two way microphone will allow a caregiver to chat with the person who has fallen. 

The lamp also has a built in alarm system that can be armed with a remote or an app that will trigger on intrusion. Nobi can even link to other smart devices such as smart locks to automatically open the deadbolt if a caregiver needs to get in. 

When it’s not an emergency, Nobi can adapt the color of the light based on the time of day and brightness of the room to help energize inhabitants. When it first rolls out, it can also show an activity feed in the app. Eventually, Nobi will be smart enough to recognize patterns on its own and will be able to sync with calendars and offer prompts to take medicine or take a walk.

It’ll even link to certain smart TV devices so you can send pictures to your elderly relative and they can pull it up on their big screen.

For privacy sake, all of Nobi’s collected info is processed locally, only prompted events and alerts reach the cloud. It has a built-in 4G sim card as well in case Wi-Fi goes down. Finally, it has a smoke detector and VOC air quality sensor. It talks to other Nobi units through Powerline and to other smart devices through Bluetooth.

Nobi certainly packs a lot of functionality into a lamp. The interconnected system will need to be pretty flawless, though, to make the steep price feel worth it instead of replicating the system with a few simpler and more affordable smart gadgets. If the AI lives up to the promise, the cost could certainly be worthwhile if you have an elderly relative who wants to stay independent. 



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