New products, Conferences, Books, Papers, Internet of Things

Archive for April, 2010

Objects Aren't Social

A new web service called tales of things just launched, which aims to attach stories to objects. It follows on from a similar service that got a good amount of press at SXSW this year, StickyBits. Both services want to get people to ‘tag’ real world objects, by sticking barcodes onto them and adding information about the object onto the Web (often via mobile phone). The idea is that this will make the objects ‘social.’

The complete article from is available here.

Outdoor and Indoor Location of Sensor Devices using GSM Cells and GPS

There are two main ways of performing outdoor location when tracking sensor devices in a large area such as a city. The most extended is using a GPS module to get the information sent by the satellites on the 1575MHz band and extract all the information possible (latitude, longitude, speed, direction). However, this methodology is not effective when requiring mobile scenarios where the nodes can change from a clear environment to an indoor one, such as going inside buildings, garages and tunnels. For this cases we use the information provided by the Mobile Phone Cells (Cell ID, RSSI, TA) which is captured by the GPRS module.

Read the complete article by Libelium.

Tim O'Reilly Explains the Internet of Things

Last week industry thought leader Tim O’Reilly, the man widely credited with popularizing the term Web 2.0, gave an opening keynote talk about the Internet of Things at his organization’s MYSQL conference. Some readers here might assume that a MYSQL talk is too technical for them, but this was a speech that anyone could appreciate. The link leads to two videos. The first is a great 5 minute explanation of the Internet of Things from IBM. The next is O’Reilly’s 36 minute keynote. We highly recommend you check both out for a great picture of where the future is headed.

Check the videos here.

Zolertia's Z1 Low-Power Wireless Sensor Module

With the Z1 low-power wireless module, Zolertia launches the first public release of its WSN mote, its flagship product. The Z1 module is a general purpose development platform for wireless sensor networks (WSN) designed for researchers, developers, enthusiasts and hobbyists.

It is a platform compatible with the successful Tmote™-family motes with several enhancements that offers roughly a 2x performance in several aspects. Equipped with two on board digital sensors (accelerometer and temperature), it comes with everything a developer needs to start building smart networks from scratch.

You can connect your applications directly to the Internet of Things (IoT) with IPv6. The Z1 module was devised keeping in mind:

• Backwards compatibility with motes based on MSP430+CC2420 as well as support for some of the most currently employed open source O.S.’s/stacks by the WSN community, like TinyOS 2.1 (current) or Contiki (soon).

• Maximum flexibility and expandability while improving low power consumption with most versatile and low power sensors and uC.

Features Summary:

• 16-bit Ultra-Low-Power MCU (MSP430F2617)  ||  92KB flash, 8KB RAM

• Widely adopted 2.4 GHz RF Transceiver (CC2420)  ||  IEEE 802.15.4 & 6LowPAN ready

• 3-Axis Digital Accelerometer || Configurable to ±2/4/8/16 g, events interrupts

• Low Power Digital Temp. Sensor  ||  ±0.5°C accuracy

• Serial Flash Memory for Storage  ||  16Mbit, 100k cycles

• Multiple Power Options  ||  USB powered, 2xAA/AAA, coin cell

• 54-pin Expansion Connector  ||  ADCs, DACs, SPI, I2C, UARTs, interrupts, USB

• 2 Antenna Options  ||  Embedded ceramic or U.FL external adapter

• Expandable with up to 4 Phidgets™  ||  2x3V + 2x5V Phidgets™


• Immersing your device in the IoT

• Personal healthcare monitoring

• Environmental monitoring

• Emergency detectors

• Safe and rescue devices

• Long-term unattended monitoring

• Power consumption monitoring

• Agricultural monitoring

• Plus any other you can think of…

Further Information

General info about the Z1:

Buying Z1’s:

Community & Documentation:

Special Issue on Integrated Solutions for Secure Wireless Multimedia Sensor Networks

The aim of this Special Issue is to bring together academic and industry researchers and practitioners from the WMSN and WSN communities to foster a fruitful and critical discussion on integrated solutions for Secure WMSNs that could help in the development of new design methodologies for planning advanced services. In particular, the Guest Editors encourage the submission of papers related to one or more of the following issues:

– Innovative technological platforms for Secure WMSNs;
– Advanced monitoring applications based on Secure WMSNs;
– New analytical methodologies and tools to design Secure WMSNs;
– QoS and QoE in Secure WMSNs;
– Performance evaluation of Secure WMSNs with particular attention to achievable performance bounds on QoE, Energy efficiency, and Security;
– Communications algorithms and protocols for Secure WMSNs (Physical, MAC, Network, Transport layers, and Cross layer stacks);
– Security in Multimedia encoding, compression, and aggregation algorithms for WMSNs;
– Encryption techniques for multimedia contents in WMSNs;
– Security and Privacy policies, Trust management, authentication and data integrity in WMSNs;
– Secure Localization in WMSNs;
– Scalability and Fairness in Secure WMSNs;
– Joint Security, Multimedia Coding and Communication techniques in WMSNs.

Submission deadline: 15th of June, 2010

More info here.

Triple Security in ZigBee: Link, Network and Application layer Encryptions

ZigBee sets three security levels, the first one is based on the IEEE 802.15.4 Link layer encryption. The others are implemented in the Networking and Application layers. All of them uses AES 128b as encryption mechanism but differ from the kind of authentication and privacy policies.

An interesting article about the three security levels is available here.

Ph.D. Position, Wireless Communications Research Group

The Wireless Communications Research Group of Pompeu Fabra University,  Barcelona, Spain offers a research oriented PhD position. We seek an outstanding student to undertake a PhD in security and privacy issues of sensor networks. A strong background in mathematics as well as some previous work in cryptography will be viewed favorably.

Applicants are encouraged to provide a CV and the names and contact information of at least two references to Vanesa Daza (vanesa.daza at before April 30, 2010.

Researcher Throws A Wrench In IBM And HP's Sensor Networks

“Smart” infrastructure has become one of the buzziest bits of IT jargon over the last year, thanks to massive marketing pushes from companies including IBM, HP, and Cisco. The big idea: putting sensors everywhere that communicate in a mesh network and allow real-time tracking and optimization of everything from traffic to the power grid to the water supply.

But for security researchers, tying complex infrastructure systems to equally complex technology paints a bullseye on those “smart” sensor projects. In a talk at the Black Hat security conference in Barcelona Thursday, Greek researcher Thanassis Giannetsos plans to present a new software tool that he and two colleagues have written that they say would allow a malicious hacker to penetrate a sensor network and change or delete data at will.

The researchers says their attack would allow an intruder to take control of a sensor network with just a laptop, an antenna, and their exploit written in Java. The tool attacks the routing layer, affecting protocols like Mint Route and MultiHopLQI to collect, redirect or delete data. “What you’re trying to do is to destroy the tree of communication between sensors, to make all the nodes forward their data to you, not the base station,” says Giannetsos, a graduate student at the Athens Information Technology University. “Once you have all the data in the network, you can change it, inject new messages, drop it, impersonate new nodes, whatever you want.”

More info here.

New wireless module for point-to-point wireless control

Starman Electric has recently released a wireless module to make point-to-point wireless control and data acquisition easier than ever. Branded with the name DataBridge™, these modules offer simple and reliable bridging of analog, digital, and Serial UART signals between two points. Two modules automatically link together and function as a wireless cable, sampling and repeating the signal at 200 times per second. No software configuration or programming is required, and reliable data links can be made in seconds.

More information can be found at:

Ericsson CEO Predicts 50 Billion Internet Connected Devices by 2020

In 10 years there will be 50 billion devices connected to the web, declared Ericsson President and CEO Hans Vestberg yesterday. That differs from Intel’s estimates that by 2015 the world will have 15 billion connected devices up from 5 billion now. However, the point is the same — mobile broadband and cheap chips equal a connected network of gadgets.

Vestberg highlighted the benefits of connected health-care devices, which we’ve also featured. The smart grid (GigaOM Pro sub req’d) and the potential for connected appliances also will bring more devices online, in addition to the already proliferating connected consumer electronics devices like televisions, cameras and game consoles. Already, the carriers are salivating at the prospect of providing cellular connections to these products and have set up divisions dedicated to machine-to-machine connectivity, but Wi-Fi is also a contender as the wireless backhaul to the web.

More info here.