Of Internet and Things

“The Kinze Autonomy Project, [is] a new set of tractor and grain cart unveiled this Summer that drive themselves to harvest crops and that can make ‘intelligent operational decisions in real time based on field conditions.’ Designed to reduce the need for skilled labor operating the machinery, the system would mean that farmers could do other higher-level planning work and operate the tractor all night long by itself. Presumably the whole thing is networked, collects data and will make some analytics available. Hello, Internet of Things, goodbye Old MacDonald?”–Marshall Kirkpatrick, ReadWriteWeb, September 25, 2011

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) researchers have developed an intelligent t-shirt that monitors human vital signs, such as body temperature and heart rate, and can locate patients within a hospital. “The information gathered by an intelligent t-shirt using e-textile technology is sent, without using wires, to an information management system, which then shows the patient’s location and vital signs in real time,” according to the UC3M researchers. The system, which consists of a fixed infrastructure that is pre-installed and mobile units that move with the patients, is designed to be used in hospitals and medical centers. The intelligent t-shirt is washable and includes electrodes that detect bioelectric power through which an electrocardiogram can be taken. The t-shirt also is equipped with a removable device that includes a thermometer and an accelerometer. The system was tested 24 hours a day, with five patients being monitored simultaneously. The system is equipped with a series of alarms that are programmed to go off if certain body signs reach predetermined levels. In addition, the system can be applied to applications involving early diagnosis of cardiac anomalies or for telemedicine to monitor patients in their homes. The information management system stores all of the patient’s data for use in later studies.–Monitoring Patients Using Intelligent T-Shirts, September 19, 2011

Oxfam charity shops will use technology developed by a U.K. consortium to create an Internet of things this fall. The technology will enable 20 shops to combine information such as geographical location, stories about previous owners, video clips, and tweets to form a social network for objects, says the University College London’s Andy Hudson-Smith. The plan is to label objects with radio frequency identification (RFID) tags or quick response (QR) codes, and link each tag with a special Web site for that object. Mobile phone users will be able to scan the tag and access the information from the Web site or add their own information. For a pilot project, an Oxfam shop in Manchester tagged clothes with QR codes to provide stories from previous owners and their geographical location. “In 20 years’ time, it may well be possible to enter a shop where each object is able to offer up its own history–what sort of person owned the object before, where they got it from, and what memories are associated with it,” Hudson-Smith says. In a trial of the technology in Norway, people can scan tags at bus stops and receive tweets on when the next bus will arrive and leave a message or video clip.–‘Internet of Things’ Is Set to Come, Financial Times, September 14, 2011

Within the next decade there is likely to emerge a new kind of brain implant for healthy people who want to interact with and control machines by thought. One technology under development is the electrocorticographic (ECoG) implant, which is less invasive than other devices and capable of riding on top of the brain-blood barrier, sensing the activity of neuron populations and transmitting their communications to the outside world as software commands. Research to study the potential of ECoG implants is being funded by the U.S. Defense Department as part of a $6.3 million Army project to create devices for telepathic communication. Carnegie Mellon University engineer Dean Pomerleau says he is most eager to see a “two-way direct-brain interface” that would “revolutionize human experience.” Gerwin Schalk, a pioneer in ECoG development, proposed in a 2008 paper in the Journal of Neural Engineering that humans could be trained to think in computer-recognizable patterns to generate bursts of thought that function as software code. An even less invasive brain-machine interface than the ECoG implant is being researched at Dartmouth College, where scientists are creating an iPhone linked to an electroencephalography headset.–The Cyborg in Us AllNew York Times Magazine, September 14, 2011

About GilPress

I launched the Big Data conversation; writing, research, marketing services; http://whatsthebigdata.com/ & https://infostory.com/
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