Ambient Backscatter transforms existing wireless signals into both a source of power and a communication medium. It enables two battery-free devices to communicate by backscattering existing wireless signals. Backscatter communication is orders of magnitude more power-efficient than traditional radio communication. Further, since it leverages the ambient RF signals that are already around us, it does not require a dedicated power infrastructure as in RFID.
The researchers tested the ambient backscatter technique with credit card-sized prototype devices placed within several feet of each other. For each device the researchers built antennas into ordinary circuit boards that flash an LED light when receiving a communication signal from another device.
Groups of the devices were tested in a variety of settings in the Seattle area, including inside an apartment building, on a street corner and on the top level of a parking garage. These locations ranged from less than half a mile away from a TV tower to about 6.5 miles away.
They found that the devices were able to communicate with each other, even the ones farthest from a TV tower. The receiving devices picked up a signal from their transmitting counterparts at a rate of 1 kilobit per second when up to 2.5 feet apart outdoors and 1.5 feet apart indoors. This is enough to send information such as a sensor reading, text messages and contact information.
Eighteen months ago we began gathering data on battery performance from our Android app – the metrics available on Android include charge level, voltage and battery temperature. These are relevant to our mission to understand and map the world’s wireless networks, since poor signal can lead to increased battery consumption.
After 6 months of data collection, we chanced on an unexpected relationship. Aggregating daily battery temperature readings to city level revealed a strong correlation with historic outdoor air temperature. With a mathematical transformation, the average battery temperature across a group of phones gives the outdoor air temperature.
“The purpose of this article is to demonstrate a new platform – XOBXOB (pronounced “zob-zob”) that gives users (and Arduino users in particular) a method of having remote devices connect with each other and be controlled over the Internet. At the time of writing XOBXOB is still in alpha stage, however you’re free to give it a go.”
I’ve been working on a project to wirelessly track the temperature, light level and soil moisture of my bonsai tree, so I can track its progress and know when to water (and more importantly, when not to).
… The picture above is of the first prototype, built out on a permaproto board with a huge enclosure and a wired connection to the sensors. This prompted my previous blog post on the Wixel in general and how to get it to sleep in low power modes to maximize battery life. I also experimented with a solar panel to provide power which worked nicely in direct sunlight but would need to be augmented with a big capacitor and a harvesting set up to cope with San Francisco’s cloudy days (and nights!), so I decided to go in a different direction – to operate with low power draw and in a small package using a single AA battery, and eventually to swap out the Wixel and use a CC2511 directly on the device itself.
The possibilities of a near future when entire floors or walls inside our home become responsive interfaces are vast. A floor could sense when people enter and leave the room and, when integrated with other smart features, could enable our content to literally follow us throughout the house, eliminating the need for pause buttons completely. The video projection capabilities offer a whole new platform for gaming, enabling kids to kick around a virtual soccer ball without ever having to worry about breaking their mother’s favorite vase. And in a life-saving capacity, the floor could recognize if a person has fallen, alert a caregiver that assistance is needed.
Many researchers are focusing on flexible electronics, but the ones coming out of Someya-Sekitani Lab are the thinnest and most flexible circuits to date, the researchers say. (They have aptly nicknamed their work “imperceptible electronics.”) The sensors can conform to almost any 3-D shape. They’re also resilient, the research team says: the sensors maintain functionality up to 170 degrees C (though beyond 100 degrees C their efficiency gradually tapers off); they’re nearly unaffected when immersed in saline solutions; and they can be crumpled up, flattened back out, and even placed on rubber and stretched out–none of which drastically impacts performance.
The Crash Sensor will mount onto any helmet. When paired with the ICEdot app on a smart phone, the system is able to detect motion, changes in forces and impacts.
In the event of critical forces, the device triggers the app over low-energy Bluetooth to sound an alarm and initiate an emergency countdown. Unless the countdown clock is stopped, the app will then notify your emergency contacts and send GPS coordinates of the incident so that appropriate follow up actions can be taken.
StickNFind sensors are the size of a thick US quarter and cost $50 for a pack of two. Put them on whatever it is you want to keep track of and monitor/find them with your smart phone’s Radar Screen App; You can set an alarm to trigger when a distance boundary is exceeded. Because the app works on signal strength, it can’t immediately tell you the direction of your tagged belonging, but walking about will tell you the direction that increases the signal strength. The range is 100 feet. via SmartPlanet.
The wait is over: our Internet of Things Printer software and tutorials now work with the Twitter 1.1 API! Both the Arduino and Raspberry Pi versions have been updated. The 1.1 API requires that you have a Twitter account of your own (even if not actively using the service yourself), so there are a few extra setup hoops to jump through (explained in the guides for each printer kit).
The Industrial Internet has been described as the latest act in the broader Internet’s evolution. But while computing power, analytics, and distributed sensors are just beginning to unlock the power of industrial machine data, the broader consumer-focused Internet has been tapping the power of interconnected machines for some time.
To get a perspective on how quickly linked-machines are being adopted and creatively employed at the consumer level, we spoke with Tom Coates, a San Francisco-based product designer who is obsessed with the benefits of interconnected machines. So much so, he’s using sensors and networked services to give his house a voice, at least on Twitter.
Nimbus the Cloud – Internet of Things- Sticker!: You made an “Internet of Things” project! Adafruit offers a fun and exciting stickers to celebrate achievement for electronics, science and engineering. We believe everyone should be able to be rewarded for learning a useful skill, a sticker is just one of the many ways to show and share. This is the “Internet of Things” sticker for use with educators, classrooms, workshops, Maker Faires, TechShops, Hackerspaces, Makerspaces and around the world to reward beginners on their skill building journey! (read more)
The emerging Internet of Things — essentially, the world of physical devices connected to the network/Internet, from your Fitbit or Nest to industrial machines — is experiencing a burst of activity and creativity that is getting entrepreneurs, VCs and the press equally excited.
The space looks like a boisterous hodgepodge of smart hobbyists, new startups and large corporations that are eager to be a part of what could be a huge market, and all sorts of enabling products and technologies, some of which, including crowdfunding and 3D printing, are themselves far from established.