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Posts tagged ‘google’

Mote learning

From the Economist:

TAKE a vast windowless hall. Squeeze in hundreds of garish booths vying to produce the loudest and most obnoxious music possible. Then add thousands of busy people and bake at a high temperature for several days. Visiting a large conference or trade show can be an unpleasant experience, as Babbage can attest from many years of writing about technology. Precisely how unpleasant, though, no one has measured until now. At Google’s annual I/O conference for developers in San Francisco this week, scientists are finally trying to turn sharp elbows, raised voices and sweaty brows into cold, hard data.

The Data Sensing Lab, a project of O’Reilly Media, has deployed over 500 sensor motes at key locations around the Moscone West centre. Each phone-sized mote is a self-contained computer based on a cheap Arudino micro-controller and linked with low power ZigBee digital radios. Some measure temperature, pressure, noise, humidity and light levels. Others are tracking air quality, the motion of crowds or how many mobile phones are being used nearby. Together, they form a network producing over 4,000 streams of data that are uploaded to Google’s Cloud Platform software for analysis.

The network is an example of the “internet of things”, where physical objects are digitally interconnected and communicate without human intervention. At a shindig like I/O, this could one day mean rooms pre-emptively activating air conditioners when they detect delegates arriving, or organisers rating speakers by the level of mobile phone use during their presentations.

At the Google event, the Data Sensing Lab showed live visualisations of people flowing out of seminars and forming an eager cluster around a stand showcasing Google Glass wearable computers. It also highlighted the noisiest area (the keynote by Larry Page, Google’s co-founder) and the quietest (a pop-up shop selling Google-branded products). All the data will be made freely available online after the conference wraps up.

More info here.

Google And Berg Team Up To Create An Internet Of Things

Google is ridiculously powerful. The service isn’t just search. It isn’t just maps. It isn’t just your email or spreadsheets. Google is artificial intelligence fueled by an endless buffet of every piece of information on the Internet and every human tendency behind it. Google isn’t a website or a collection of services; it’s the most powerful deity in the known universe. And ultimately, it’s strange that so much thought can exist only behind a PC or smartphone screen.

So in 2011, Google Creative Lab approached Berg with a question: “If Google wasn’t trapped behind glass, what would it do?” The answer to that question consumed the entire studio for months. Ultimately, their answer was that computer vision–think technologies like Kinect–would meld with 3-D projection–think uber VJing–to become a sort of material of its very own.

At the heart of Berg’s concept was a smart lamp inspired by Pixar’s Luxo Jr. This lamp would see you all the time, and it would project a “Smart Light” right onto your workspace. It’s a light that would need to be more than a mere augmented reality layer for analog objects, it would have to be what Berg began calling the “little brain” to Google’s “big brain” in the cloud. Think of the little brain as a tiny, playful companion–a digital embodiment of a puppy–to humanize the experience of interaction and make data more approachable. Even though the little brain can’t be seen literally in Berg’s final videos, you can spot its potential in a companion app they called Text Camera. By modeling software after a puppy, training Google to be context-aware feels rewarding.

So where were we? Right. Berg had been working on mostly theoretical technology. They had this lamp with projection and visual tracking. But how would they practically glue projection to objects? How would the lamp know what to look at and where to project? That breakthrough came in what Berg called their fiducial switch.

Imagine the switch as a QR code. The camera sees it and can project augmented reality on top. But the fiducial switch took this idea to the next level. It asked, What if you were to split this digital code into two images? Alone, they’d be meaningless to a computer. Assembled, they’d be information. So the fiducial switch is a sort of on/off controller for digital information in real space. In Berg’s final, most realized concept, we see the potential. A very dumb object–a mere chunk of plastic with some springs–becomes a cloud-connected media player. Ultimately, Berg asks, “What if subscriptions to digital services were sold as beautiful robot-readable objects, each carved at point-of-purchase with a wonderful individually generated pattern to unlock access?”

More info here.

Google Joins IPSO Alliance, Along with Electronics-Maker Fujitsu

Technology leader Google has joined the IPSO Alliance, a group of technology companies with the common goal of promoting the Internet Protocol for smart object communications, allowing items ranging from appliances to factories to cars to “communicate” as individuals do over the Internet.

In addition to Google, top IT and technology manufacturing company Fujitsu has joined IPSO, alongside specialty electronics companies Elster Electric, Echelon Corp. and Augusta Systems.

The IPSO alliance now boasts 53 member companies, including BoschCiscoEricssonIntelSAPSun Microsystems andTexas Instruments.

“Google’s participation in IPSO is a result of its expectation that many devices will become part of the Internet environment,” saidVint Cerf, Google’s Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist. “The IPv4 and IPv6 Internet protocols are well established and used for this purpose. Google’s PowerMeter application makes use of this idea to help Smart Grid users capture and analyze their energy usage information.”

The Google PowerMeter is a free online tool that allows users to view their homes’ energy usage. In coordination with their energy partners, including TXU Energy and San Diego Gas and Electric, Google is now able to bring real-time energy use information to the consumer, enabling individuals to lower their utility costs and prevent waste.

“The addition of Google, and its PowerMeter service, to the Alliance really completes the Smart Grid circle within IPSO,” explained Geoff Mulligan, Chairman of the IPSO Alliance. “Now, not only will consumers be able to use the products and services of IPSO Alliance member companies to connect their home to the grid, they also will be able to monitor how those appliances, and their entire home, are consuming energy.”

More info here.

Google’s Android Bulb to Run on 6LowPAN Standard

It consumes very little power. The chips and software behind it are cheap and getting cheaper, and the name incorporates an absolutely insane combination of capital letters and numbers.

What is there not to like about the 6LowPAN standard?

The Android bulb — a networked LED bulb coming out later this year from Google and Lighting Science — will connect to Android phones and other devices through the above-mentioned standard, according to Ted Russ, chief business development officer for the company.

NXP Semiconductor, other sources have said, will supply the chips for the bulbs. It figures. NXP — which was spun out of the Philips conglomerate a few years ago — supplies low-powered NFC (near field communications) chips to Android phone makers already and is a leading expert in energy-efficient, light-bandwidth communications. NXP also announced a component family, called GreenChip, for LED bulbs based around the standard back in May, a few days after Google and Lighting Science announced the Android bulb. JenNet-IP, an open-source software stack, complements GreenChip. TCP, a light manufacturer, already supports GreenChip.

More info here.

Google, Lighting Science partner on Android-powered LED bulb

Internet giant Google and LED manufacturer Lighting Science Group on Tuesday revealed that they have partnered to develop an LED light bulb that can be controlled from an Android-powered smartphone.

The Florida-based lighting firm calls it “intelligent LED lighting,” and announced it with Google during the company’s keynote presentation at its I/O developer conference in San Francisco.

The first product, a 60-watt equivalent bulb, is a combination of Lighting Science’s knowledge of light geometry and Google’s connected software know-how.

An Internet-connected LED bulb? Yes, and here’s why: with a little help from your home’s Wi-Fi network, you can dim or turn off lights remotely — or to program them to do so.

Better still, the LED bulbs can leverage your smartphone’s GPS and proximity sensors, turning on lights when you walk into a room with the phone in your pocket.

Google has always occupied the home area network space, but this is the first time it has addressed a specific appliance in the home. (If you’re an avid reader of SmartPlanet, you’ll know that the “Internet of Things” — from cars to water heaters to toasters to yes, light bulbs — is just around the corner.)

It’s not just a consumer play, but a commercial one, too. Networked lighting companies such asAduraLumenergiRedwood Systems and others — Google rival Microsoft’s focus on commercial building management comes to mind — deal primarily with office buildings and datacenters; this announcement hints at similar applications.

The companies say the product will arrive in retail stores this fall.

More info here.