Deployment of sensor systems for smart, Internet of Things (IoT) environments may be subject to high cost, physical limitations, building modification regulations, or lengthy processes. Flexibility of sensor type choice can lead to overcoming various constraints. Very low cost, easily deployable sensors can provide data other than that for which it was designed. In this paper, we use temperature sensors, rather than the customarily used job-specific sensors, to measure the mechanical events of opening of a fridge door and the physical event of water flow in a pipe. A given sensor that measures a particular parameter can instead use a different, alternative low cost sensor to answer the same end question: The means by which the answer is derived differs, and thus the sensor's modality shifts. We show results of replacing flow meters in pipes and mechanical switches in refrigerator doors with temperature sensors, thereby shifting the modality of the temperature sensor from measuring the room temperature to measuring other physical parameters.

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Keywords flow meter, IoT, low cost, modality, sensors, smart environment, temperature sensor, unobtrusive sensors
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Conference 12th IEEE Sensors Applications Symposium, SAS 2017
Russell, L. (Luke), Goubran, R, Kwamena, F. (Felix), & Knoefel, F. (2017). Sensor modality shifting in IoT deployment: Measuring non-temperature data using temperature sensors. In SAS 2017 - 2017 IEEE Sensors Applications Symposium, Proceedings. doi:10.1109/SAS.2017.7894057