Think of walking into a haunted house and a mummy pops out at you. Ok, not that scary and you don’t even blink. As you move to the next room things start to ramp up with flashing lights, things grabbing you and more. Your 8-year-old niece in her princess costume is coming through behind you and you’re worried that the house was probably too much for her. A few moments later she comes out really excited about the scary things that she saw. But as she’s reciting the different gross things, you realize it was a completely different experience from yours and you’re relieved!
The Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) can make this type of experience real by building a fully automated haunted house with thousands of different experiences that are customized and evolve based on actions and reactions of each person. While many of the ideas to use IoT and AI for Halloween may not happen now or ever, it’s fun to look at what’s possible with these technologies applied to a holiday. So, let’s look at how tech of the future can maximize for things like fright and safety, or minimize effort handing out candy!
Let’s continue the example of a personalized haunted house. A network of motion, temperature, noise, video and other IoT sensors can help AI understand the situation in order to customize it to adjust the fright levels of a haunted house to best suit each visitor. Rather than connecting a mummy that pops out to a timer or a single motion sensor, a connected system could decide whether to take certain actions like flashing a strobe light based on many inputs including a motion sensor but also based on the noise and video from the previous room indicating how scared a visitor was. These systems could also adapt and evolve based on historical performance to learn what works best for different types of visitors. Who knows, maybe pink costumes turn out to mean the visitor will be very hard to scare or height is not an indicator of how easily a visitor will be scared!
Connected IoT sensors could also be used to improve safety during Halloween. GPS sensors in phones or standalone have become common options for parents to track their kids who are going out alone. Beyond security cameras and GPS monitoring, there one really interesting safety project that IoT and AI could enable is a neighborhood watch-type network. A community could put a few motion sensors, cameras, noise sensors, Bluetooth beacons and more could be placed around a neighborhood to share a real-time look into activity at various locations with residents. Neighbors could also give access to certain sensors on their property via API at certain times (like Halloween) to centralize data. Think of a neighborhood watch with access to real-time insight into any gatherings, alerts for loud noises and more.
And for those lazy adults or people who may be out of town, there’s some fun ideas to automate and simplify giving out candy! Automation could drop a piece of candy for each visitor at the door, but this could easily be abused. Using AI to track who had already come to the door might be possible by analyzing camera data. It might also be interesting to let AI decide what candy to give to each visitor to maximize happiness. It would be difficult to truly judge how happy a kid was with any piece of candy without a follow-up survey, but visual and audio analysis might be able to put together some ideas. Even if more advanced candy-giving strategies may not be feasible, training AI to give out more expensive candy based on costume complexity would be a fun project!
Ideas like these are much more likely to be implemented to monitor oil pipelines or improve supply chain efficiency, Halloween is big business (consumers are expected to spend 9.1B in 2017) and IoT and AI technologies will already be making simple appearances in 2017. More fanciful concepts like those discussed here may become reality sooner than any of us think as IoT devices become more interoperable and lower cost. Let’s let our imaginations run wild when it comes to events like Halloween! What are your ideas for how to make Halloween a little spookier using technology?