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

Archive for May, 2010

Startup’s Kits Help You Hack Your Home

A few weeks ago, People Power introduced a kit it calls SuRF, for Sensor Ultra-Radio Frequency, that helps connect household appliances and gadgets to a wireless network in your house. What that means is that you could monitor your microwave, Playstation and coffee machine in real time, check their levels of energy consumption, and make apps to control how they behave. Ultimately, that could lead to substantial savings of energy and money.

The $150 SuRF is a developer’s kit, which means you can’t simply buy it, plug it into your refrigerator, and start cutting your energy consumption in half: You have to connect it to your gadget or appliance and then build an app to make it work.

SuRF consists of two boards with long-range 900-MHz radios, powered by the Texas Instruments CC430 platform. “Lower frequencies let you penetrate walls and go much further than the standard 2.4-GHz frequency,” says David Moss, People Power’s director of device engineering.

He brings out two pairs of wireless network transmitters and receivers. One pair operates on 2.4 GHz, the frequency used in many wireless devices. The other are SuRF boards running at 900 MHz. We place one of each type in the room, and walk out to the front yard with the other two. The signal from the 2.4-GHz source dies out soon. SuRF is still blinking after almost a hundred feet.

More info here and here.

Café serves chocolate (RFID) chip ice cream

From RFIDNews:

Izzy’s Ice Cream Café in St. Paul, Minn. is utilizing RFID technology to give customers real-time updates on all the available flavors in its dipping cabinet, according to a Computerworld article.

The store has more than 100 flavors to its name, but only serves 32 in its dipping cabinet at any one time. The dipping cabinets are equipped with readers which capture each of the flavor’s corresponding labels embedded with an RFID tag. Information is captured by the readers 22 times every second and sent to a system which updates Izzy’s Web site, so customers can know what is available before even having to come in the store.

The system also projects colored dots on the store’s wall or a TV behind the counter, to allow customers to easily know what flavors are available.

When an employee places a new flavor in the dipping cabinet they also swap out the RFID tag in front of the tub with the one corresponding to that flavor.

Customers who sign up, can get e-mail updates, and soon text messages, when their favorite flavor is being served. Izzy’s also sends updates to its Facebook page and Twitter account.

To read more click here.

Power Management Conference

27th May 2010 – National Physical Laboratory, Teddington, UK

Wireless micro-autonomous systems with their very severe volume constraints present significant challenges to the design of power sources that meet the operational requirements of key application scenarios. State-of-art power sources often fail to meet such requirements and while energy harvesters provide a promising alternative, interfacing them properly remains a major problem. Power management is an active research topic aiming to control power consumption in electronic devices, while providing a reasonably good performance.

This one day event organised by the Sensors & Instrumentation KTN and the Electronics KTN on the 27th May 2010 at the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington UK and aims to explore the design opportunities provided by power management concepts and optimisation strategies that are applicable to the scale of micro-autonomous systems. The event will disseminate the results of a recently conducted survey on power management technologies. The programme will feature a panel discussion debating the best practices in design approaches at the system level covering hardware, software implementation and innovative systems design. The event will be an opportunity to meet innovators from the electronics and sensing community as well as developers and users of power management technologies and applications.

For further information visit

EuroSSC 2010

The 5th annual IEEE European Conference on Smart Sensing and Context a platform to discuss   techniques, algorithms, architectures, protocols, and user aspects underlying context-aware  smart surroundings and cooperating intelligent objects.

The conference will take place in Passau, Germany, from 14 – 16 November.

We invite the submission of full papers, posters, and demos on subjects related to:
* Distributed smart sensing and context recognition
* Context processing
* Context-aware actuators, interaction methods, and human aspects
* Applications, deployment, test beds and case studies
* Opportunistic information and context processing

The paper submission deadline is June 16 2010.

More information is available here.

Libelium opens access to Bluetooth Wireless Sensor Networks

Libelium announces a new Bluetooth module for the Waspmote wireless sensor network platform. This module enables wireless sensor networks to be directly linked to portable devices such as smart phones and laptop computers. This capability is particularly useful for medical applications and for industrial diagnostics. Additionally, when combined with the Meshlium multi-protocol router, it supports the deployment of hybrid ZigBee-Bluetooth wireless sensor networks. In order to prevent interferences between both technologies, the new module uses Adaptive Frequency Hopping (AFH) to work just in free channels.
More information here.

Unifying Isolated Sensor Systems Using Web 2.0 and Open Standards

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has been actively involved in research to formalize the engineering principles and best practices behind emerging Web 2.0 concepts. These concepts are used to solve real-time data-sharing problems for national security and defense, public health and safety, environmental and infrastructure awareness, and emergency preparedness and response. The popularity of Web 2.0 and social media sometimes disguises the profound change that is occurring in the way we share information. The emergence of social media, in particular, signifies a major democratization of the way we get and share information.

As the use of Web sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Wikipedia, and Twitter grows, first responders, public safety officials, and researchers are implementing their own homegrown solutions using these social networking Web sites to share data and collaborate with other users.

More info here.

10 Internet of Things Blogs To Keep An Eye On

From ReadWriteWeb:

Everyday objects with their own IP addresses may soon be the norm. This communication of objects with the Web is the latest version of a still-idyllic new vision of technology that claims it will improve our lives. Yet we’re at such an early stage of development of the Internet of Things that finding the best blogs to follow is a moving target.

Many of the 10 offerings below have only come into being in recent months. Not making our list is a ReadWriteWeb favorite – Pachube – which has been remiss in updating their blog. So stay tuned for updates in future posts. For now, here are what we believe to be the 10 most active blog feeds available on the Internet of Things.

More info here.