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

Archive for September, 2012

Big Data in Your Blood

Very soon, we will see inside ourselves like never before, with wearable, even internal , sensors that monitor even our most intimate biological processes. It is likely to happen even before we figure out the etiquette and laws around sharing this knowledge.

Already products like the Nike+ FuelBand and the Fitbit wireless monitor track our daily activity, taking note of our steps and calories burned. The idea is to help meet an exercise regimen, perhaps lose some weight. The real-world results are uneven. For sure, though, people are building up big individual databases about themselves over increasingly long periods of time. So are the companies that sell these products, which store that data.

That is barely the start. Later this year, a Boston-based company calledMC10 will offer the first of several “stretchable electronics” products that can be put on things like shirts and shoes, worn as temporary tattoos or installed in the body. These will be capable of measuring not just heart rate, the company says, but brain activity, body temperature and hydration levels. Another company, called Proteus, will begin a pilot program in Britain for a “Digital Health Feedback System” that combines both wearable technologies and microchips the size of a sand grain that ride a pill right through you. Powered by your stomach fluids, it emits a signal picked up by an external sensor, capturing vital data. Another firm, Sano Intelligence, is looking at micro needle sensors on skin patches as a way of deriving continuous information about the bloodstream.

More info here.

GreenPeak launches the GP710: the first dual-protocol ZigBee chip

The dual ZigBee network solution for Set-Top Box and Gateway combines ZigBee RF4CE and ZigBee IP/ZigBee PRO for Smart Home Solutions

GreenPeak Technologies, a leading Smart Home RF-communication semiconductor company, today announced the launch of the new GP710, a dual-protocol ZigBee communications controller with simultaneous support for ZigBee RF4CE and ZigBee IP/ZigBee PRO protocols.

The GP710 communication controller is targeted for set-top boxes, gateways and Smart Home controllers and designed for supporting simultaneously ZigBee RF4CE applications – such as remote controls – as well as ZigBee IP or ZigBee PRO Smart Home applications such as security, home care and energy management.

The benefits of this GreenPeak dual-protocol communication chip are much simpler product design, cost reduction of the total product bill-of-material (single silicon) and a less complex PCB and antenna that makes it simpler and faster for developers to integrate ZigBee into their set-top box or gateway designs.

“The GP710 provides a low cost solution that combines different ZigBee Network protocols into a single chip,” said Cees Links, Founder and CEO of GreenPeak Technologies. “GreenPeak has developed special hardware features to enable multi-protocol support, minimizing the interrupt load on the set-top box processor, and allowing simultaneous RF4CE and other ZigBee protocol operations. This is a first for the industry! Because of GreenPeak’s superior range that covers the whole home and its ultra-low power consumption for long battery life, the GP710 is the best in class choice for integrated low cost Smart Home ZigBee applications.”

Cees Links continues: “Many large operators already support ZigBee RF4CE in the set-top box and remote controls and have an urgent need to broaden the service offering to their customers. GreenPeak’s GP710 communications controller will make new Smart Home service offerings less expensive because new residential applications can all be controlled from the set-top box or gateway using a single device.”

“This solution leverages the growing availability of ZigBee RF4CE in the market,” said Tom Kerber, Director, Research, Home Controls & Energy, Parks Associates. “Adding ZigBee IP/ZigBee Pro to the ZigBee RF4CE silicon will make it easy for service providers already using ZigBee RF4CE remote controls to add home automation devices – now an area of significant focus by communications service providers.”

More info here.

Researchers take full control of cockroach’s movement, turn it into a wireless sensor

Built-in power supply? Check. Ability to survive anything? Check. Easy to control? Okay, anyone who’s had a cockroach as an uninvited houseguest knows that’s not the case. So, rather than re-inventing the biological wheel with a robotic version, North Carolina State university researchers have figured out a way to remotely control a real Madagascar hissing cockroach. They used an off-the-shelf microcontroller to tap in to the roach’s antennae and abdomen, then sent commands that fooled the insect into thinking danger was near, or that an object was blocking it. That let the scientists wirelessly prod the insect into action, then guide it precisely along a curved path, as shown in the video below the break. The addition of a sensor could allow the insects to one day perform tasks, liking searching for trapped disaster victims — something to think about the next time you put a shoe to one.

More info here.