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

Archive for January, 2011

Cerf calls for 're-imagining' the internet

Given that the focus of the 12th Australian national Linux conference is the internet, it was fitting that Dr Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the global network, gave the first keynote in Brisbane this morning.

Cerf’s thesis is that the internet needs to be re-imagined for a variety of reasons – the increasing lack of address space, the security problems that haunt the net, and the scope for adding features among others.

Today’s talk was similar to one he gave last year; some of the highlights can be seen in this video clip.

His presence, suited and booted, was inspiring of its own accord, more so given that a man of his eminence is willing to admit to mistakes, one of them being his decision to go with a 32-bit address space (IPv4).

More info here.

Low-energy DECT variant for sensor networks?

SiTel Semiconductor and RTX Telecom are proposing a new ultra-low-energy extension to the existing DECT Standard especifically for WSN applications. There is already a host of low-energy networking standards available. But according to SiTel’s Steven Leussink, DECT ULE offers many unrivalled mix of advantages for bandwidth, interference preventions and network topology.
For computing networks, there are now clear winners: Bluetooth, Ethernet, USB and Wi-Fi. But for the new WSN markets, we are yet to see which technologies will survive from a selection that includes 6Lowpan, Homeplug, Insteon, Lonworks, M-bus, Power line, RF4CE, X10, Wavenis, Zigbee and Z-wave.
Read full article here

Why The Economist is wrong about ‘the internet of hype’

Interesting article by Michiel de Lange:

Some weeks ago The Economist published an article about ‘the internet of things’, with the provocative title ‘The internet of hype‘. The journalist, (nick)named [?] Schumpeter, was invited to attend the corporate event Fundación de la Innovación in Madrid. He raises a number of critical points against the idea that the internet of things is really making objects smarter and our life better, especially in the fields of energy and health care. Some of these criticisms indeed seem justified: there still is poor network coverage in many areas, privacy issues, increasing dependency on technology and the risk of failure, and the strengthening of corporate dominance over urban services. Usually I am in favor of critical thoughts about developing technologies for their own sake. But the crux of Schumpeter’s objection raises seems to miss the point entirely:

Is it worth it? Many of the problems that the internet of things is supposed to solve actually have simple, non-technological solutions. Google likes to boast that your smartphone can tell you the ratio of men and women in any given bar. But there is actually a much simpler solution: you can look through the window! Many of the wonders of the internet of things fall into this category. Sensors can tell you when a baby’s nappy is full. There is a perfectly reasonable old-fashioned solution to this problem. Sensors can turn the stem of an umbrella to glow blue when it is about to rain. You can always listen to the weather forecast. […] In health care, above all else, technology is a poor substitute for the human touch.

These silly examples may be meant as tongue-in-cheek satire on the tendency to uncritically laude the ‘technological fix’ for all sorts of non-existing problems. Still, as this is The Economist, not The Onion, I’ll bite.

Read the complete article here.

Survey: Industrial and Automotive Protocols in Wireless Sensor Networks

Libelium is launching a survey to see which are the industrial and automotive protocolspreferred by developers find more interesting when deploying hybrid wireless sensor networks with both industrial/automotive (wired) and 802.15.4/ZigBee (wireless) options.

Most popular protocols will be integrated in Waspmote as a special hardware module. This is a good opportunity to be implicated in the design of new communication boards for the modular Waspmote platform. The new hardware modules developed will be compatible with previous versions of Waspmote.

Results will be emailed to the participants when the survey is finished.

Access to the Survey here.

OpenPicus IDE and Framework released

OpenPicus, the italian open source platform made for wireless smart sensors and actuators, definitely takes off with a thick list of juicy news. The open source platform is mature and offers to the developers:
– The new IDE, easy to use and Free to download
– Software Framework: your Apps can control the functions of the Protocol and of hardware, but you don’t need to be an expert of both.
– Apps Source Code (such as wireless Webserver)
– Video guide for the IDE and a Manual for the Framework

“We are really excited. We worked hard for this day to offer to the community a final version of the project, ready to be tasted. Thanks to the community on the Blog, in Facebook and by email for the support. Other great news are coming in the next months” Claudio Carnevali and Gabriele Allegria, founders of the project, say on the introducing video on the renewed website.

OpenPicus started in March 2010, it was just an idea and a Blog. Today FlyPort module (the first Wi-Fi smart module, AKA Picus) is more and more the core of lot of Wireless applications, from sensors to robotics, all over the world thanks also to the smart Campus program: they give FREE Starter kits for Universities.

Contiki announces the Contiki Wiki

The Contiki team is happy to announce the Contiki wiki, a wiki with
documentation, getting-started guides, tutorials, a FAQ, and other
information about Contiki! The wiki can be found at the Contiki website:

They would also like to invite everyone – Contiki developers, Contiki
users, and anyone interested in Contiki – to participate in developing
the wiki! Contiki and the wiki needs your help to become a high-quality
place to turn to for Contiki information.

New WiFi-IT! Modules

NPE expands the WiFi-IT! family of 802.11 Wi-Fi embedded modules with the introduction of the WL11. This module provides 11 Mbps data transmission while keeping the ultra low-power characteristics that make it ideal for battery and low-power applications.

More info available here


ADHOC-NOW is an international conference dedicated to wireless and mobile computing. This year, it comes to Germany for the first time and will take place on July 18-20, in the beautiful city Paderborn. The conference addresses both experimental and theoretical research in the areas of ad hoc networks, sensor networks, mesh networks and vehicular networks. It focuses on all issues from link layer up to the application layer.

The ADHOC-NOW 2011 proceedings will be published in the Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Select papers will be invited for submission to a special issue of Ad Hoc & Sensor Wireless Networks

Important Dates

Paper Submission: Feb. 24, 2011
Author Notification: Apr. 29, 2011
Camera ready: May 13, 2011

Topics of interest and other details available here

Project HiJack: creating a cubic-inch peripheral sensor ecosystem for the mobile phone.

HiJack is a hardware/software platform for creating cubic-inch sensor peripherals for the mobile phone. HiJack devices harvest power and use bandwidth from the mobile phone’s headset interface. The HiJack platform enables a new class of small and cheap phone-centric sensor peripherals that support plug-and-play operation.

Power. The HiJack energy harvester can supply 7.4 mW to a load with 47% power conversion efficiency when driven by a 22 kHz tone from the output from a single audio channel on the iPhone 3GS headset port, all using electronic components that cost just $2.34 in 10K volumes. We are exploring other approaches for achieving higher conversion efficiencies.

Data. The HiJack communications layer offers two data transfer schemes. The first allows 300 baud data transfer using Bell 202 FSK signaling. The second offers 8.82 kbaud using a Manchester-encoded, direct-digital communication using hardware accelerators on the HiJack microcontroller and a software-defined, digital radio modulator/demodulator on the phone.

Sensing. We envision a range of sensorboards including ozone, carbon monoxide, DVM, blood pressure, blood glucose, and others. But today, we only have four daughterboards: (1) a simple demo board with temperature/humidity sensors, PIR motion sensor, and potentiometer used on the early HiJack prototypes; (2) a 3-lead EKG sensor; (3) a basic soil moisture sensor; (4) a breakout board for fast prototyping on the latest generation of HiJacks.

More info here.

OpenPicus IDE and Framework

OpenPicus, the open source hardware and software platform for wireless Apps, reaches the biggest milestone on 20th January at 10am italian time.

The new IDE and the software Framework will be available for download!

This is a great step for the project, FreeRTOS was ported on the FlyPort Wi-Fi module and the Framework let you develop your apps even without any experience in embedded programming or communication protocols.

The core team from Rome declare : “we have finally our IDE and our Framework. It has been tested from November from several Universities around the world that joined our Campus program. We’ll also have a website restyling and a surprise for our community”.