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

Archive for September, 2011

Latest Research in Wearable Technology: Video Demos and Abstracts

Some of the latest research applications in wearable and ubiquitous technology were submitted and presented at EMBC’s UnConference this year. All entries submitted a project abstract and many have included a short demo video illustrating the research and technology in action.

 The videos provide a real insight into some of the emerging applications in wearable technology from integrating sensors in textiles, mobile phone based sensing, non invasive cardiovascular reactivity measurement, and body worn monitoring tailored to a range of domains.

 Awards were presented to Nizan Fridman for ‘MusicGlove: A Music-Based Device for Hand Rehabilitation and Quantitative Assessment of Hand Function’ for the most innovative demo, and to Virg Bento for ‘The SWORD ambulatory rehabilitation system’ for the highest potential impact demos.

All abstracts and demo videos can be accessed here – definitely worth a visit for anyone looking for an engaging and interesting way of keeping up to date on research in the wearable technology and mHealth domains.


The pieces are falling into place for an “internet of things”

From GigaOM:

It may be difficult to describe what exactly the phrase “an internet of things” means, but the pieces of the puzzle that are required for that to develop are all here today, ThingM CEO Mike Kuniavsky told attendees at GigaOM’s Mobilize conference in San Francisco. Those puzzle pieces include ubiquitous network connectivity, cloud-based services, cheap assembly of electronics, social design, open collaboration tools and low-volume sales channels. When put together, Kuniavsky said, they create an “innovation ecosystem” that is the foundation for an internet of things.

ThingM is what Kuniavsky called a “micro-OEM” that creates small batch custom electronics for a variety of clients, but the ThingM CEO and co-founder is actually a designer by training, who worked in web design and then user design before founding Adaptive Path, and who still works as a design consultant for large electronics companies and has written a book called Smart Things. The ThingM CEO said that based on his understanding of the custom electronics market, the “landscape in which we’re creating ubiquitous devices is about to fundamentally change.”

Although the phrase “internet of things” has become a popular buzzword that Gartner Research recently included on its Hype Cycle, Kuniavsky said that there are already aspects of this phenomenon that are affecting our lives — for example, the use of RFID chips and near-field communications (NFC) can help tell us where the food we buy was grown, while GPS and other technologies are allowing cities to reinvent things like the parking meter so that they can apply time-based pricing. Small companies like Green Goose are taking advantage of these trends by selling tiny stick-on widgets that include a sensor and a communications chip.

More info here.

The Latest Sports Stat: Players' Vital Signs

Wearable sensors collect data from athletes as they’re playing—data that could soon be broadcast during the game.

Statistics in sports is about to hit a whole new level. A new generation of wearable monitors that measure heart rate, electrical activity in the heart, lung capacity, metabolism, and other metrics is allowing scientists to study athletes’ physiology as they play.

The data has obvious potential to enhance players’ health, and to help trainers tailor workouts, but device makers and the sports industry seem most excited about the prospects for entertainment. They are already working on ways to display the data during games, in stadiums and television, giving fans unprecedented insight into players.

Last February, when the NFL held its annual scouting combine to assess the top-ranked college players, the highest-profile draftees wore special shirts fitted with sensor technology, developed by Under Armour and Zephyr Technologies. The players’ data—such as acceleration during the first 10 yards of the 40 yard dash—was recorded as they ran through the various physical trials.

“Millions of dollars in decisions are made based on the 40-yard dash,” says Leslie Saxon, a cardiologist and director of the center for body computing at the University of Southern California, who led a panel on sports and body sensors at a conference held there last week. “If you can get much more sophisticated statistics on body position, physiology, and mechanics, I think it could play a big role.”

More info here.

1st International Conference on Sensor Networks – SENSORNETS 2012

SENSORNETS 2012, February  24 – 26, 2012, Rome, Italy

Current developments show that in the near future the wide availability of low cost, short range radio technology, along with advances in wireless networking, will enable wireless adhoc sensor networks to become commonly deployed. In these networks, each node may be equipped with a variety of sensors, such as acoustic, seismic, infrared, motion, biomedical and chemical sensors with higher level of information inference associated with identification, embedded signal processing and networking of the data. This conference intends to be the meeting point of researchers and practitioners share experience and ideas on innovative developments in any aspect of sensor networks, including Hardware of Sensor Networks, Wireless Communication Protocols, Sensor Networks Software and Architectures, Wireless Information Networks, Data Manipulation, Signal Processing, Localization and Object Tracking through Sensor Networks, Obstacles, Applications and Uses.

Papers describing original work are invited in any of the areas listed below. Accepted papers, presented at the conference by one of the authors, will be published in the proceedings of SENSORNETS. Acceptance will be based on quality, relevance and originality. There will be both oral and poster sessions.

Important Deadlines:

Regular Paper Submission: October 13, 2011 (extended)

Authors Notification (regular papers): November 21, 2011

Final Regular Paper Submission and Registration: December 5, 2011

More info here.

TI's new 6LoWPAN sub-1GHz solutions deliver mesh wireless Internet connectivity

Texas Instruments, the industry leader in highly integrated wireless connectivity solutions, today introduced new sub-1 GHz 6LoWPAN solutions, aimed at providing a gateway for remote, low-cost wireless sensors to connect to the Internet and a wireless extension of wired IPv6 infrastructures. By operating in the sub-1GHz band, TI’s 6LoWPAN solutions offer longer wireless range at lower power levels than traditional 2.4 GHz-based 6LoWPAN offerings. The 6LoWPAN solutions support large-scale mesh networks and are suitable for applications such as Smart Grid, security, home and building automation, street lighting and other wireless sensor networks. The new product family includes the CC1180 network processor, CC430 complete system-on-chip (SoC) microcontrollers, 6LoWPAN software stack, and CC-6LOWPAN-DK-868 development kit.

As plug-and-play solutions, TI’s 6LoWPAN devices require little RF expertise and can be set up using standard IP socket programming to quickly add wireless and internet connectivity to networks. They support hundreds of hops, enabling the development of wireless mesh networks with large network depth using only one gateway. For example, light poles on a city street could be wirelessly connected and managed using one gateway, based on TI’s 6LoWPAN sub-1 GHz solutions. The 6LoWPAN system would enable city planners to monitor bulb replacements or outages and ensure proper lighting for drivers if weather conditions change. Self-healing capabilities of TI’s solutions would also assist in efficient monitoring of the network – if a node went out, other nodes would find another way through the network to maintain the connectivity.

More info here and here.

Researchers in Sweden to Develop Low-Energy Consuming Wireless Sensors

A team of researchers at Sweden’s Luleå University of Technology have been inspired by the nervous system of fruit flies to develop advanced wireless sensors.

The university researchers have begun work on a four year research project to develop sensors that can be used in the monitoring of machines, in medical applications, in monitoring of plantations as well as in railway and roadway navigation and monitoring.

A researcher from the EISLAB department at the university, Fredrik Sandin explained that the impact on society made by the advancement can be compared to the revolution that the Internet has created in people’s lives. The advanced wireless sensor networks feature microcomputers, sensors and wireless communication which enable the collation of information that can revolutionize our everyday lives and the industry. The wireless sensors will be capable of performing the task of analyzing and encoding information with low energy consumption, similar to fruit flies. Sandin compares the microprocessors to the biological nervous system of the flies.

For large-scale systems, sensor units are required to analyze large amounts of data without consuming too much power. Since a central computer performs the task of data analysis, the goal of the project is to develop a “neuromorfic” chip that can encode and process the signals efficiently.

A neuromorfic chip consumes just a few microwatts and can perform the task using existing technology in a power saving mode.

More info here.

IPSN 2012

The 11th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Information Processing in Sensor Networks
April 2012, Beijing, China
The International Conference on Information Processing in Sensor Networks (IPSN) is a leading, single-track, annual forum on research in wireless embedded sensing systems. IPSN brings together researchers from academia, industry, and government to present and discuss recent advances in both theoretical and experimental research. Its scope includes signal and image processing, information and coding theory, databases and information management, distributed algorithms, networks and protocols, wireless communications, collaborative objects and the Internet of Things, machine learning, and embedded systems design. IPSN is part of the Cyber-Physical Systems Week (CPS Week), which will bring together other leading CPS conferences including International Conference on Hybrid Systems (HSCC’12), International Conference on Cyber-Physical Systems (ICCPS’12), and IEEE Real-Time and Embedded Technology and Applications Symposium (RTAS’12).

Abstract deadline: Friday, October 07, 2011
Full papers due: Friday, October 14, 2011
Author notification: Friday, January 20, 2012
Camera Ready due: March 1st, 2012

More info here.

GSU-UNC-MSU Joint Postdoctoral Fellowship

Georgia State University (GSU), Department of Computer Science
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), Department of Geological Sciences
Michigan State University (MSU), Department of Computer Science
in Collaboration with the Instituto Geofisco of the Escuela Politecnica Nacional (IG-EPN) and Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA-JPL)

Applications are sought for a new postdoctoral fellowship position being offered by GSU-UNC-MSU in the NSF-funded VolcanoSRI project . This project will create a new paradigm, VolcanoSRI (Volcano Seismic Realtime Imaging), for imaging 4D (four-dimensional) tomography of an active volcano in real-time. VolcanoSRI is a large-scale sensor network of low-cost geophysical stations that analyzes seismic signals and computes real-time, full-scale, three-dimensional fluid dynamics of the volcano conduit system within the active network. The computed 4D tomography model will illuminate complex, time-varying dynamics of an erupting volcano, providing a deeper scientific understanding of volcanic processes, as well as a basis for rapid detection of volcanic hazards. VolcanoSRI will potentially make the fictional holographic projector known as Virgil in the film “Supervolcano” (3:49) a reality. Realizing the VolcanoSRI system requires a transformative study on the science of complex volcano systems and the design of large-scale sensor networks. Our approach integrates innovations on distributed tomographic algorithms, collaborative signal processing and situation-aware networking technology for large-scale real-time sensor systems. The distributed tomography algorithm disperses the computational burden to the sensor nodes and performs real-time tomographic inversion within the network. Such an approach has never been attempted before and represents a major achievement for both earth and computer science. The team is composed of computer and earth scientists including early pioneers of wireless sensor networks as applied to volcano monitoring. In collaboration with the Instituto Geofisco of the Escuela Politecnica Nacional (IG-EPN), we are planning to deploy a prototype network at an Active Volcano of Ecudor (e.g., Reventador or Tungurahua), in the year 2005.

This postdoctoral fellowship provides an opportunity to engage with an emerging research area involving wireless sensor networks and volcanology, to work with three university teams as well as researchers at NASA-JPL and IG-EPN, gain real-world sensor network deployment experience, and build a strong publication record. We are seeking highly qualified applicants with a background in sensor networks, parallel/distributed computing, seismology or applied mathematics (the key research problem involves solving constrained optimization problems (e.g., tomography) in distributed sensor networks), with a strong preference for applicants with previous experience building real-world sensor network solutions. Applicants should hold (or will obtain within six months of application) a Ph.D in Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, or a related field.

The payrate is $4000/month. To apply: Please send your cover letter, CV, research statement, and names of up to four references to Prof. Song at the addresses below (email applications only). Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Prof. WenZhan Song
Georgia State University

The internet of things: an infographic

University of Utah Engineers Design Wireless Sensors to Detect Breathing in Patients

At the University of Utah an electrical engineer is working on a wireless sensor network that can detect if the patient stops breathing during surgery or even when the patient is on the recovery bed. These engineers have already built wireless networks that allow you to see through walls and now they are looking at measuring human breath in a non-invasive manner.

The new technique will be beneficial to adults with sleep apnea , babies at risk of sudden infant death syndrome and patients recovering from surgical procedures. The researchers have been able to reliably estimate breathing rates by placing a network of wireless transceivers around a bed and measuring how the motion of the chest and abdomen impedes the radio signals crisscrossing the patient.

Neal Patwari, senior author of a study of the new method said that the technique used off-the-shelf wireless transceivers similar to those used in home computer networks. The assistant professor of electrical engineering said that this would ensure that the cost of this system will be cheaper than existing methods of monitoring breathing.

Professor Patwari said that they would use this to increase the safety of people who are under sedation after surgery by knowing if they stop breathing. He added that they envisioned a product that parents put around their baby’s crib to alert them if the baby stops breathing. It might be useful for babies at risk of SIDS.

The main advantage as per Patwari was that the patient or the baby doesn’t have to be connected to tubes or wired to other sensors, so they can be more comfortable while sleeping. If you’re wired up, you’re going to have more trouble sleeping, which is going to make your recovery in the hospital worse he added.

More info here.