It does, you know. You just have to get it hot enough.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Spimewatch: Mass Sensor Networks

The amateur radio crowd have been doing interesting things with the Internet and its precursors for awhile now. One of my favorite examples is the proliferation of online receivers, radios that have their audio out and controls connected to a web site. You can transmit on your radio, tune into their radio, and see if your signal makes it to some remote location. The downside is that receivers can only tune to one frequency at a time, so you have to take your turn if the receiver is in an interesting location. Also, they’re typically not very portable, requiring large antenna installations and reliable Internet connections, but they’re still a remote sensor you can use to collect information.

This morning I discovered Pachube, a “service that enables people to tag and share real time environmental data from objects, devices and spaces around the world. The key aim is to facilitate interaction between remote environments, both physical and virtual.”

In the space of a few moments I looked at the river conditions in Bastrop, TX; humidity and “leaf wetness” in southern California; and data from various sensors in a home in Japan.

Ok, so poking around on a website is fun and all, but Pachube also will feed this data out. All I need to do to have my automated lights turn on and off in sync with those in the Japanese living room is pull a data feed from Pachube then use something like Arduino to drive the hardware.

What will be really interesting is when there are enough tag readers attached to something like this to track arbitrary objects through the network. Online package tracking will seem quaint by comparison.

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posted by jet at 13:42  

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