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Archive for May, 2010

ZoundTracker by Zolertia wins the International Barcelona SmartCity Award

ZoundTracker by Zolertia has been awarded with the 1st International Barcelona SmartCity Award in the BDigital Congress that took place in Barcelona from 17th to 20th May.

The “Barcelona SmartCity” International Award has been established with the intention of identifying the solutions or projects that clearly contribute to improving municipal services for managing the city in order to make Barcelona a city of the future: a city with a high quality of life which is competitive, sustainable and has an innovative, flexible, efficient administration. The “Barcelona SmartCity” International Award is aimed at any individual or organization who has innovative products or services at a pre-commercial phase that make an outstanding contribution to creating a more intelligent, innovative administration, closer to the public, thereby increasing the quality of life of the citizens of Barcelona.

The award consisted in a single prize of 4.000€ and the right to deploy a pilot of the project in the 22@Barcelona district during the following year, in the 22@Urban Lab program.

ZoundTracker by Zolertia is meant to create real time maps of acoustic contamination and is able to identify and locate the direction of those spots that make louder noise than permitted or desired. For that purpose, a hardware prototype node with a GUI was built to demonstrate the capabilities of a node of estimating the incoming direction of a loud noise.

Zolertia is a company located at the Technological Park of Valles, near Barcelona (Spain) whose main aim is to create innovative technology and applications based on the wireless sensor networks paradigm. Zolertia develops solutions to improve services in hospitals, industry, agriculture, transports, etc. The technological framework developed in-house to build these self-sustained intelligent networks is affordable to any individual, researcher, developer or hobbyist, is completely open, employs mature robust software technology started at important international universities and can be freely retargeted for any other purpose anyone anywhere in the world can think of.

For further information, do not hesitate to visit Zolertia.

Why HP Thinks Sensors Will Lead to The Next Big Wave of Computing

From ReadWriteWeb:

Earlier this month I had the chance to visit Hewlett Packard Labs in Palo Alto. I spent my time there talking to a number of senior engineers and scientists about the exciting technology they’re working on, much of it related to the Internet of Things (a trend I’ve paid particularly close attention to over the past 18 months).

I started the morning with a visit to the laboratory of Dr. Peter Hartwell, a senior researcher at HP Labs and one of the brains behind HP’s ambitious CeNSE project (“Central Nervous System for the Earth”). As I walked into the lab, Hartwell was busy playing with a new accelerometer that measures very fine vibrations – which I would soon find out has potential applications in industries such as medicine and mass transport.

The complete article is available here.

Digi promotes Libelium sensor networks for harsh environments

Digi International has published an article where they shows how wireless sensor networks are being used to monitor fire forests, river flooding and other phenomena which were not previously detectable in real time due to their difficult-to-access nature. Sensor networks in mountains, river banks, and in harsh environments can now be deployed using the Libelium Waspmote platform. Digi sets this sensor device platform as a successful case of the use of the XBee transceivers as Waspmote that allow long range links (up to 12km in the 868MHz band) with the lowest consumption sleep mode (0.7uA). This is also crucial for other situations such as areas hit by earthquakes, floods and hurricanes where sensor networks need to be completely autonomous and robust.

Read the entire Digi article here.

Brazilian Rainforest Study Could Yield New Model for Environmental Research

The Amazon rainforest alone stores an amount of carbon equivalent to a decade of global fossil fuel emissions, and plays a crucial role in the world’s precipitation and oxygen-transfer processes — earning it the nickname, the “lungs of the world.” Because of its sheer size, changes in the forest affect not only the local environment, but global weather, by altering wind and ocean current patterns.

Understanding how those processes work on a small scale was the goal of the recent Brazilian Rainforest Sensor Network project — a joint effort from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Johns Hopkins University, the São Paulo Research Foundation, the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research, andMicrosoft Research.

It’s part of an effort to help scientists better understand the planet’s delicate and complex systems, and the impact of human activities. Rob Bernard, Microsoft’s chief environmental strategist, says that information technology is playing a key role in that quest. Microsoft is working on several fronts to help scientists understand and share environmental information, and demonstrate the potential of this research.

“With the world’s population expected to hit 9 billion people by 2040, all of us need to better understand our impact on the planet,” Bernard says. “In order to understand, we need to have better information and better ways to visualize that information.”

In 2009, scientists from the groups working on the Amazon project converged in Mata Atlântica, the Atlantic coastal rainforest in the state of São Paulo, southeast Brazil, to develop, build, test and deploy a wireless sensor network for collecting environmental data.

Program Manager Rob Fatland of Microsoft Research’s External Research division was brought onboard the project for his expertise in deploying sensor networks into rugged environments.

More info here.

Just How Many Radios Do You Need, Anyway?

From NetworkWorld, interesting discussion about ZigBee:

I recently attended an IEEE Communications Society event that focused on ZigBee, a very interesting set of radios and protocols mostly designed for telemetry and control applications. And during the entire presentation, my mind wandered back to a fundamental question – how many radios do we really need in a handset? ZigBee isn’t yet big in the home, but imagine a residential-automation system using ZigBee, handling security, energy management (“smart grid” is a key focus for the ZigBee community), home entertainment, personal communications, etc. etc. Gosh, given such, wouldn’t it be great to have a ZigBee radio in a handset? Will such come to pass?

I doubt it. In fact, let me throw this out: in the not-too-distant future, the only radios in most handsets will be 802.11n Wi-Fi (dual-band) and LTE. That’s it, and that’s really all that’s required.

More info here.

6 Smell Sensors That Are Changing the Internet of Things

Sensors that smell help save lives everyday. From cars that won’t start because court-ordered breathalyzers smell alcohol in the operator’s blood stream, to bomb-sniffing machines at the airport, to complex medical tests that analyze your breath – we are designing machines that smell to make the world a safer place.

Smell sensors are essential to the future of the Internet of Things. From RFID stickers capable of smelling food through the package and updating the food’s status to the Web, to our next phone being a “smell phone”, engineers are finding innovative ways to help protect our families from being exposed to toxic hazards.

More info here.

ACM BuildSys 2010

The 2nd ACM Workshop On Embedded Sensing Systems For Energy-Efficiency In Buildings and Surroundings will be held in conjunction with ACM SenSys 2010, in Zurich, Switzerland – November 2, 2010.

The World is increasingly experiencing a strong need for energy consumption reduction and a need for efficient use of scarce natural resources. Official studies report that buildings account for the largest portion of World’s energy expenditure and have the fastest growth rate. Clearly, energy saving strategies that target energy use in buildings and surroundings can have a major impact worldwide, driving the current energy market toward self-sufficiency and self-sustainability. This calls for effective techniques and methods that enable accurate carbon foot printing, monitoring and control of appliance activity, energy auditing and management in buildings and surroundings and the generation of energy awareness.

Wireless sensor networks (WSNs) plays a key role in enabling energy-saving systems in buildings and surrounding spaces by providing a reliable, cost-effective and extensible solution that can be placed in existing as well as new structures and be controlled via the Internet. In fact, WSNs allow the monitoring of the energy consumption  in near-real time and, as such, they are an essential tool in the control loop that will be used in future structures for the generation and usage of diverse types of energy.

Following the success of the past edition of the workshop, BuildSys 2010 focuses on the intersection between WSNs and energy in buildings by merging experts in the WSN domain and experts in the Building/Energy community in order to identify innovative solutions which achieve the broad goal of energy-reduction.

CFP and more available here

Important dates

Submission deadline: 30 July 2010
Notification of acceptance: 7 September 2010
Camera Ready Due: 25 September 2010
Workshop date: 2 November 2010