The internet of bulbs

Paul Raven @ 19-05-2011

Bruce Sterling and many others have talked about the “internet of things” for years now, but the advent of IPv6 and increasing drives toward energy efficiency have brought an example to light. (Arf!)

NXP and Green Wave Reality’s idea for lightbulbs with individual IP addresses may well turn out to be vapourware in the long run (after all, we were supposed to have arphids in everything by now, weren’t we?) and has some basic implementation flaws (as pointed out by an early SlashDot commenter, it’d make much more sense to give each light fitting the IP address, so as to avoid readdressing every time a bulb goes), but the underlying point is valid: that ubicomp/everyware is coming, and coming fast.


GreenGoose and the gamification of… er, pretty much everything

Paul Raven @ 02-03-2011

Still trying to get a handle on that whole Internet Of Things idea? Intrigued by the buzzphrase “gamification”, or the concept of lifelogging-as-behavioural-feedback channel? Wondering what people are trying to do with RFID now that the futureglow has faded from that particular tech concept? Here’s where they all meet up:

the folks behind Green Goose […] have come up with a system that turns boring tasks like brushing your teeth and exercising into a game that awards the ‘player’ with lifestyle points for completing various everyday tasks, in much the same way as players earn experience points in role playing games.

Green Goose uses wireless sensors that can be attached to objects, such as a toothbrush, water bottle or bike, to detect when you perform a task you have set yourself and rewards you with lifestyle points. These sensors were originally only available as egg-shaped attachments tailored for specific uses, but have now been shrunk down to small stickers and credit-card sized devices that can be attached to just about anything.

Worried that your kids live in world that’s much like The Sims? Well, why not make reality more like The Sims!

Interestingly (though not surprisingly, gamifying child behaviour wasn’t the original application:

The company was originally positioning the system as a tool for ecological and financial responsibility with its egg-shaped sensors designed to be attached to a bike, thermostat or showerhead to keep track of how much money a user saves by riding their bike instead of driving, keeping the air conditioning down or taking shorter showers.

At the risk of channeling Chairman Bruce, man, I can’t imagine why people weren’t queuing up to buy a game that would continually remind them how much they were screwing over the environment on a daily basis! We all know we need to do something, but there ain’t much comfort in being reminded just how much we need to do…

GreenGoose looks eminently hackable, though, not to mention easily cloned on the cheap; I can see some interesting interstitial/AR gaming applications straight away, but I suspect that, as always, the street will find its own uses for things that no one entirely expected. How’s about this one: fair allocation and metering of time-sensitive resources in your favela-chic stuffed-animal commune? Gotta keep track of who’s caning the hot water, after all, and if you ain’t done your chores then you don’t get your full bandwidth quota for the day…


Spimes go mainstream

Paul Raven @ 16-04-2010

When The Guardian is cheerfully reporting about a UCL project called Tales of Things that intends to track the life of QR code-tagged objects across the web as well as geographical space, I think we can safely say the idea of the spime is moving beyond the realm of pure theory. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to Google my notepad…


Smartdust on the roads, in the cars

Tom James @ 01-07-2009

highway_insomniaThe old chestnut of fully automatic cars trundled a little bit closer with the development of EM2P by the European research group EMMA:

“We sought to hide the underlying complexity of in-car embedded sensors so that developers could quickly design new applications with existing electronics,” explains Antonio Marqués Moreno, coordinator of the EMMA project. “EMMA will foster cost-efficient ambient intelligence systems with optimal performance, high reliability, reduced time-to-market and faster deployment.”

The project hopes that, by hiding the complexity of the underlying infrastructure, its work will open up new prospects in the field of embedded, cooperating wireless objects.

The key of the idea is to make a middleware application between the embedded sensors in cars and designers who want to develop interesting and useful applications.

it could also work between cars – opening the prospect of cooperating cars – and, of course, it can work with traffic infrastructure like lights, warning signs, and other signalling information. All of this via the same middleware platform.

Also a possible route of entry for a hypothetical Internet of Things.

[from ICT results, via Physorg][image from Nrbelex on flickr]


The RFID and the saguaro

Tom Marcinko @ 08-10-2008

As somebody who used to have a front yard with a saguaro cactus, I understand why people pay up to $1,000 for them. Last year the law caught rustlers trying to steal 17 of these Sonoran Desert natives. So the National Park Service in Tucson, Arizona is planning to imbed chips in the cactuses to track them in case the plants go AWOL.

“We would likely not just go out and implant, but would gather data, GPS the locations, and record heights and widths and measures,” [Saguaro National Park chief ranger Bob] Love said. “We probably wouldn’t implant a plant that was not healthy or a desirable plant for someone to steal.”

Nevada chipped some of its barrel cactuses in 1999 to deter theft and help take inventory.

[Photo: backlitcoyote]


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