April 11 2008 / by juldrich
Category: Business & Work Year: 2012 Rating: 9 Hot
By Jack Uldrich
Cross-posted from jumpthecurve.net
There was a picture from yesterday’s NY Times article entitled My Life in a Video and it shows a dancer with a variety of sensors embedded in her leotard. Among other things these sensors can automatically control music to correspond with her dance tempo.
To be sure, it is a cool technology and I’m sure it will soon be showing up in some avant garde theatres; I, however, would encourage you to think even more broadly about how embedded sensors and RFID tags will soon transform our lives.
To do so, I invite you to read these two recent articles. The first is from Roland Piquepaille over at ZDNET and he explains how researchers at the University of Washington have deployed 200 antennas (RFID readers) to track the movements and activities of 12 students.
I would also encourage you to watch the six minute YouTube clip posted below. It is a little academic at times, but toward the end you will witness two exciting applications. In the first, a student hears a song that a colleague is listening to and he is able to instantly download it to his cellphone. In the second, the same student downloads information from a wall poster. (At a minimum, this latter application holds great relevance for advertisers and retailers who might soon be able to employ the technology to download electronic coupons to consumers as a means of either enticing them to purchase the product or, at least, receive more information about it).
The second article comes compliments of NewScientistTech and it describes how researchers at MERL (Mitsushishi Electric Research Lab) have outfitted a 3000-square meter office with 215 sensors. What is interesting about this system is that it is slightly less “Big Brothery” than the UW project, but is still has some really practical applications. For instance, by monitoring people movements, companies could gain a better understanding of how they might want to heat or cool a building (e.g. if few people use a certain space it could be kept cooler). At a more practical level I can envision how retailers and grocers might redesign store layouts (and product placement) based on information obtained from these sensors.
Like the UW project, this article also has a short two-minute YouTube clip. After watching it, you should get a better feel for how the technology works.
If you then put the content from the three articles (and two YouTube clips) together and consider how in the near future sensors may very well be embedded in our clothing; in our phones; and in the walls of our buildings, I believe a clearer picture of where the future is headed emerges.
As always, I’d be interested in your thoughts.