Japan radiation monitoring goes crowd, open source

A new open and crowd-sourced initiative to deploy more geiger counters all over Japan looks to be happening. Safecast, formerly RDTN.org, recently met and exceeded its $33,000 fund-raising goal kick-starter, which should help Safecast send between 100 and 600 geiger counters to the catastrophe-struck country.

The data captured from the geiger counters will be fed into Safecast.org, which aggregates radiation readings from government, nonprofit, and other sources, as well as into Pachube, a global open-source network of sensors. Safecast is one of the larger crowd-sourced monitoring efforts, not unlike a similar effort in the United States that predated the Japanese disaster. Safecast plans to deploy hundreds of geiger counters in Japan.

For the last month, the Safecast crew and volunteers have been collaborating with universities in Japan and driving their geiger counters around the country and taking measurements. Safecast’s early monitoring trips north of Tokyo returned some disturbing findings, including elevated radiation levels in a kindergarten classroom.

Safecast link: http://blog.safecast.org/

The Internet of Things will lead to de-centralization. It could lead to the end of cloud computing.

In a recent interview conducted by Tech Republic, Ron Vetter of the IEEE Computer Society said that the proliferation of smart sensors will greatly increase the number of things connected to one another as well as the kind of information and control that will be available.

“Advances and standardization in computer networking and low cost hardware have contributed to moving machine-to-machine communication forward,” said Vetter.

“The Internet of Things will talk to us, but they will spend more time talking to each other. These M2M (Machine to Machine) communications will happen wirelessly. Many people rely on M2M communications by using a Bluetooth headset, making a payment with their mobile phone or – for the early adopters with money to burn – subscribing to a 4G network.

The technology required to power the Internet of Things is already here, but some of it needs improvement. Networking devices are already here — no office is complete without a network containing printers, wi-fi routers, and mobile phones. The networking protocol IPv6 is already here, with its trillions of addresses ready for use, although it is only sparsely deployed so far. Low cost production, antenna design, and battery life could do with improvement. Privacy controls, green technology, and Thing management will need a lot of work.

The Internet of Things will lead to de-centralization. It could lead to the end of cloud computing.”

Wireless sensor network developers are finding an expanding ecosystem with Internet of Things markets, according to a recent survey by global technology research firm ON World.

In collaboration with several industry alliances, ON World recently completed a survey with leading WSN equipment/device manufacturers, service providers, software developers, systems integrators, component suppliers and end users.

Participants include members of the Bluetooth SIG, CABA, Continua Health Alliance, EnOcean Alliance, IPSO Alliance, ZigBee Alliance and Z-Wave Alliance.

A few of the key findings were:

  • The smart home is currently targeted by nearly two thirds of the respondents.
  • Energy management and lighting are the most commonly targeted current WSN application areas.
  • 43% are planning WSN solutions for health and fitness
  • Likely high growth markets include personal / lifestyle sensors, home and building controls, and smart city applications such as traffic sensing and parking management.
  • Nearly half of the respondents are using ZigBee followed by WiFi, 6LoWPAN and Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth Smart).
  • Data reliability, equipment costs and battery lifetime are the top three most important WSN adoption considerations.
  • Energy harvesting is ranked as one of the top five most important WSN innovation areas and 40% of the respondents have at least tested energy harvesting.

Vuzix Smart Glasses M100 to be showcased in January 2013

Following the presentation of their prototypes back in October, Vuzix have announced that their M100 smart glasses will be showcased at CES in Las Vegas from January 8th – 11th, 2013. With an integrated head tracker and GPS for spatial and positional awareness, the glasses include an integrated camera which enables video recording and still image capture. Combined with smartphone applications and linked to the Cloud, first-person Augmented Reality will now finally be available. As a competitor to Google’s Project Glass, Vuzix boasts M100 as the world’s first enhanced “Hands Free” smartphone display and communications system for on-the-go data access from your Smartphone and the Internet.

Whereas the technological progress made in is area is very exciting in terms of what it offers with regards to interactivity, it will be interesting to see what insurance companies make of it if incidences of accidents involving people walking out into the middle of the road or tripping on uneven pavements increases. It is essential that developers find the right balance in their designs so as not to remove peripheral awareness away from users to the point where they are unable to respond quickly enough to unexpected dangers from traffic / uneven paving stones etc.


Le Web is Europe’s biggest tech conference, and will take place in Paris from December 4th to 6th.

China looks to lead the Internet of Things.

If there’s a race to lead the Internet of Things (IoT), China aims to set the pace.

Since Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao identified IoT as an “emerging strategic industry” in an interview on state media, Beijing has focused on developing technology by which devices can communicate via infrared sensor, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and other Machine-to-Machine (M2M) technology.

Beijing plans to invest 5 billion yuan ($800 million) in the IoT industry by 2015. The Ministry of Information and Technology estimates China’s IoT market will hit 500 billion yuan ($80.3 billion) by 2015, then double to 1 trillion yuan ($166 billion) by 2020.

Link to CNN report: http://edition.cnn.com/2012/11/28/business/china-internet-of-things/index.html

Link to Le Web: http://www.leweb.co/