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]


Mini fuel cells

Tom James @ 26-01-2009

mini_fuel_cellEntering a key stage in the development of fuel cells: making them small enough to be ubiquitous, what’s the betting these’ll be in everything everywhere within 20 years?

The world’s smallest working fuel cell has been created by US chemical engineers, at just 3 millimetres across. Future versions of the tiny hydrogen-fuelled power pack could replace batteries in portable gadgets.

While batteries are used to do that today, fuel cells are able to store more energy in the same space. Even the most advanced batteries have an energy density an order of magnitude smaller than that of a hydrogen fuel tank.

[from New Scientist, via Bruce Sterling][image from New Scientist and Saeed Moghaddam]


An Internet of things

Tom James @ 23-09-2008

A world of spime-like networked and sensor-laden appliances, objects, and general stuff took a step closer with an assortment of tech titans announcing their intention to create an Internet Protocol for Smart Objects:

Smart objects are objects in the physical world that – typically with the help of embedded devices – transmit information about their condition or environment (e.g., temperature, light, motion, health status) to locations where the information can be analyzed, correlated with other data and acted upon. Applications range from automated and energy-efficient homes and office buildings, factory equipment maintenance and asset tracking to hospital patient monitoring and safety and compliance assurance.

Suggestions for colloquial names for this technology:

  • The Interject (INTERnet of obJECTs).
  • The Thinweb (a WEB of THINgs).
  • The Stufflink (you get it)

Any more?

As computation and connectivity continue to ooze their way into everything from dildos to doorbells can we think of any interesting science fictional consequences?

[via Slashdot][image from MikeBlogs on flickr]


Spimes – making computers more recyclable

Paul Raven @ 18-08-2008

junk computer hardwareComputer hardware can be a real bitch to recycle, as attested by massive landfills in developing nations and closer to home. Someone in an organisation called EPCglobal has evidently been paying attention to Bruce Sterling, because their plan to tag all new-built computer components with unique RFID chips containing data about how, where and when they were made sounds pretty similar to Sterling’s “spimes”. [image by southernpixel]

Now, if we could just give them GPS devices so they could navigate themselves back to their point of manufacture…


Geolocational tags for soldiers

Paul Raven @ 22-07-2008

soldiers disembark from a vehicleGood old DARPA comes up with some comparatively solid practical ideas in between the really bat-shit crazy stuff. Take the “Individual Force Protection System”, for example, which is essentially a way of tagging troops with traceable devices so they can be found if things get hairy on the battlefield. [via grinding.be]

The Land Warrior hardware can be used to locate its wearer too, but that might understandably get ditched by troops in a rout due to its bulk. By contrast, the IFPS is a little plastic cylinder that could be strung next to a soldiers dogtags, and allegedly allows him or her to be detected from up to 150km away without the use of GPS technology. [image by SoldiersMediaCenter]

Soldiers as spimes, anyone?


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