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

Archive for April, 2011

New Open Access books on Wireless

InTech, the Open Access publisher, has recently released several new books on wireless, radio frequency and network technologies. Each contains several hundred pages of new insights and research findings, and all are available for free full-text download, with no registration required.

Simply visit the InTechOpen platform, browse, click, download and read!

Advanced Trends in Wireless Communications

Advanced Radio Frequency Identification Design and Applications

Microstrip Antennas

Two books on telemedicine that include extensive information on the design of wireless solutions:

Advances in Telemedicine: Technologies, Enabling Factors and Scenarios

Advances in Telemedicine: Applications in Various Medical Disciplines and Geographical Regions

and two titles on networking technologies for vehicles:

Advances in Vehicular Networking Technologies

Vehicular Technologies: Increasing Connectivity

There are also several new titles in computer science, mathematics and electrical engineering.

New IPv6 protocol from IETF will boost Internet of Things

JP Vasseur, co-chair of the IETF Working Group responsible for RPL standardisation, writing on a Cisco blog (he is also a Cisco Fellow) said: “This new IPv6-based protocol will help to drive international standardisation across the many companies working actively to promote the adoption of networks of smart objects… Networks of IP-based smart objects can now be deployed to support a myriad of applications such as smart metering and smart grid networks, and to advance solutions for smart+connected communities.”

According to Vasseur, “The industry has for some time being working to develop new IPv6 protocols designed specifically for constrained networking environments such as IP smart objects. These smart objects typically have to operate with very limited processing power [and] memory and under low energy conditions, and as a result, require a new generation of routing protocols to help them connect to the outside world.

“When compared to computers, laptops or even today’s generation of smart phones, traditional IPv6 protocols tend to work less effectively or consume energy at too rapid a rate for these small, self-contained devices or sensors that are often powered by small batteries that are difficult to replace.”

Vasseur added: “For a number for years, smart objects such as sensors, actuators or RFID tags have been interconnected using proprietary protocols and architectures, which has lead to closed systems, lack of innovation and limited numbers of deployments. Very early on, Cisco recognised the need for the adoption of an IP-based architecture for smart object networks…based on an open standard, and IPv6 is without a doubt the most appropriate protocol…

“For example in September 2008, Cisco co-founded the IP for Smart Objects alliance (IPSO), an industry grouping of 57 member organisations with the mission of defining and shaping the Internet of Things.”

draft of the RPL standard is available on the IETF web site.  According to Vasseur, “The document is now with the [IETF] RFC Editor being prepared as an RFC. Publication may take a number of weeks more, but the content will not change from the Internet-draft.”

More info here.

MEMSIC Introduces LOTUS – Next-Generation Mote Platform for High-Performance Wireless Sensor Networks

MEMSIC, Inc. today introduced LOTUS, a high-performance wireless sensor platform. LOTUS is an advanced wireless node platform developed around the low power ARM7 Cortex M3 CPU and incorporates the best of IRIS, TelosB and Imote2 onto a single board. LOTUS is built on a modular and stackable design, incorporating connectors for expansion boards, and features several new capabilities that enhance the overall functionality of MEMSIC’s wireless sensor networking products and solutions. LOTUS is backward compatible with MEMSIC’s MDA and MTS range of Sensor Data Acquisition Boards.

This latest MEMSIC mote platform meets the requirements of existing Imote2 and OEM customers requiring higher speed processing capability as well as applications requiring GSM/GPRS gateways. LOTUS features 32Bit/100MHz processor, 64kB SRAM, 512kB FLASH, 64MB serial FLASH memory, an integrated 802.15.4 compliant radio with on-board antenna and USB Client with on-board mini-B connector, and runs at 50mA on-state and 10uA in stand-by mode.

LOTUS is factory configured to run RTOS (Real Time Operating System). Several other options are also available for LOTUS, including MEMSIC Kiel, RTOS, IAR Systems, Free RTOS, MoteRunnerTM and TinyOS. The 51pin expansion connector supports Analog Inputs, Digital I/O, I2C, SPI and UART interfaces enabling ease of connection to a variety of external peripherals.

“As a leading sensor manufacturer and wireless sensor networking infrastructure solution provider, we are pleased to announce the introduction of LOTUS, MEMSIC’s next-generation mote platform, enabling higher performance, low power consumption and pricing than Imote2”, said Steve Tsui, Vice President of Worldwide Sales, Systems Business. “Our mission is to continually enable our customers’ growth by delivering innovative Wireless Sensor Network products and solutions.”

More info here.

UMaine students test wireless sensors on rocket

Five University of Maine students participated in a recent launch process as a rocket loaded with wireless sensors the students developed in a UMaine lab blasted off in California’s Mojave Desert.

The students, working under UMaine electrical and computer engineering Associate Professor Ali Abedi, collaborated on the NASA-funded project with faculty and student researchers at California State University at Long Beach and Garvey Spacecraft Corporation (GSC), a Long Beach, Calif.-based R&D company that focuses on cost-effective development of advanced space technologies and launch systems.

The UMaine payload, which was integrated into a rocket known as the Prospector 18B, included sets of wireless sensors that detect acceleration in three dimensions to determine the amount of vibration of the rocket before and during liftoff. The vibration levels are crucial because even the most miniscule amount of vibration before launch could throw off a rocket from its intended path and reduce engine performance.

The sensors sent back data to a laptop on the ground during the launch, and also stored data on board the payload when the sensors went out of range of the laptop. Abedi and his students will hand over their data to Cal State Long Beach, GSC and NASA so that those organizations can continue refining their models.

The launch allowed the UMaine researchers real-world experimentation on the sensors.

More info here.


Occupancy Sensors Curb Energy Consumption

To reduce energy consumption in commercial buildings, computer scientists have come up with a way to use real-time occupancy sensors and computer algorithms to create ‘smart’ heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems. Based on early test results, the software- and sensor-based solution produced electrical energy savings of between 9.54 and 15.73 percent on their test deployment on one floor of a five-floor campus building.

“It’s clear that sensors and computing are key to reducing the demand for electricity in office buildings,” said Yuvraj Agarwal, a research scientist in the University of California, San Diego’s Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) department. “Based on the test deployment, we estimate 40 to 50 percent in energy savings if we deployed our system across the entire CSE building. This is a  significant real-world energy saving that  comes while maintaining important quality-of-life measures related to building availability, lighting, comfort and appearance.”

Agarwal presented the project’s initial findings in a talk on “Duty-Cycling Buildings Aggressively: The Next Frontier in HVAC Control” at the 10th International Conference on Information Processing in Sensor Networks (IPSN) in Chicago. IPSN is one of several scientific meetings during Cyber-Physical Systems Week and is the premier conference for research in sensor systems.

Buildings account for nearly 40 percent of primary energy use in the United States, and three-quarters of that consumption is electrical — half in residential buildings, half in commercial. Building HVAC systems are therefore ripe as a source of energy efficiency and cost savings.

More info here.


iPhone Radiation Dock Will Help Japan Track Impacts of Nuclear Crisis

Japan is still reeling from the nuclear radiation issues following the record-setting earthquake experienced last month. To help, one collective has come up with an interesting device — a portable Geiger counter that docks with an iPhone. By calling your iPhone, you can listen to the familiar clicks that tell just how much radiation is present in a particular area.

The basic idea behind iGeigie is to attach a Geiger counter to an iPhone so that it can be a tool for citizen scientists to collect information about radiation levels where there currently is no data being collected., “a collective voice helping others stay informed,” is behind the project. It is a website providing an aggregate feed of nuclear radiation data from various sources including government groups, NGOs and citizen scientists. They currently have a Kickstarter campaign going to raise funds for a sensor network.

The basis of the project is that there are still many areas where information about radiation levels is not being collected. The sensor network would fill in those gaps. Devices would be sent out to tech-savvy people who will help collect and submit information so that anyone — from the average Joe to nuclear scientists — can use it to come up with patterns and solutions.

The group is about 1/3 of the way to their $33,000 project goal, and you can help out.

iGeigie is certainly an interesting device to help push this sensor network forward.Dvice has a video of a panel discussion at New Context Conference in Tokyo, where a 5.3 aftershock hit while RDTN co-founder Aaron Huslage explained the merits of the project.

More info here.

Biyun to create an 'intelligent' community

BIYUN community residents will be the first group to benefit from a community-based intelligent device allowing users to get traffic reports, make restaurant reservations or even book an ayi.

One-hundred families – 50 expatriates and 50 Chinese – living in the Pudong New Area community will be offered the device, similar to a tablet computer, for free at the end of next month in a pilot program to build an “intelligent” community.

“The device gives easier access to government and community services based on the Internet of Things technology,” said Shi Yi, an official with the community.

Residents can learn of community notices and activities, weather forecasts and traffic information via the device.

They will also be able to pay bills, compare discounts at nearby supermarkets and make restaurant reservations or doctor appointments as more partners join in future.

The intelligent device will make life more convenient for residents, Shi said.

The device is also capable of calling the police and ambulance, when sensors installed in the kitchen and other rooms detect a gas leak or smoke. However, these functions still require the cooperation of government departments and are not yet available, according to the community official.

The device can be installed on a wall, but is also portable.

Long-term plans for the “intelligent” Biyun community also include a “safe intelligent campus.”

Parents will receive a text message when their child arrives at or leaves school. They will also be notified of which teacher received their child and who picked up their kid after school with intelligent student and teacher cards.

Biyun community in Pudong’s Jinqiao area is an upscale community popular among expatriate families. It includes 14 neighborhoods and more than 13,000 residents, most of whom are foreigners who have stayed in Shanghai for over six months.

More info here.