Applying Technology to Energy Efficiency: observers of the VC industry might have noticed that clean technology has been attracting ever larger amounts of financing. In the most recent quarter it received $843 MM, trailing only software and biotech. Primary investments in fuels and generation don’t meet our parameters for capital efficiency. As a result, we’ve been looking for what we’ve termed “second-order investments” — particularly the application of software and networking to efficiency.
It appears that the technology for enabling this might be emerging. In particular, we’re fascinated by the combination of low-cost wireless sensors and widespread home broadband.. One can easily imagine an energy saving kit comprising of sensors to monitor the power usage of all major appliances , a WiFi gateway to connect these sensors to the internet, and a web application which aggregates the information.
The complete story here.
Protothreads are extremely lightweight stackless threads designed for severely memory constrained systems, such as small embedded systems or wireless sensor network nodes. Event-driven programming is often considered “hard” because of the need to explicitly manage state-machines. Protothreads significantly reduce the complexity of programming memory constrained systems by making it possible to write event-driven programs in a thread-like style, with a memory overhead of only two bytes per protothread.
Read the Protothreads SenSys 2006 paper here.
Protothreads library is available for download here.
Kris Pister and Rob Conant from Dust Networks discuss wireless sensor networking technology – from the spark of an idea in the mid 90’s through the reliable networks available today.
The webcast is available here.
Mention “monitoring” in a word association game with most IT professionals and chances are they will immediately think of traditional system management software and the administrative processes that go with it. However, servers and network devices are sensitive and require a controlled physical environment for reliable performance, and while most businesses realize the necessity of a properly designed data center or computer room for their critical IT infrastructure, unless the facility itself is monitored for proper environmental conditions, the systems might as well be under someone’s desk. The need for data center environmental monitoring may be best summed up by Mark Twain’s folksy aphorism: “Put all your eggs in the one basket, and watch that basket!” Wireless Sensor Networks can be used in the environmental monitoring market.
The complete article here.
EasySen –a new start-up stemming from WSN research at University of Notre Dame, Indiana– has released its first product: a multisensor board to be used with Tmote Sky motes. The SBT80v2 board includes dual-axis magnetometer and accelerometer among others. Sample code is provided to demostrate board performance.
The next meeting of the UK’s Wireless Sensing Interest Group will take place on the 27th of Sept 2006 at the National Physical Laboratory.
The event’s agenda is available here.
Registration is free but places are limited and are allocated on a first come, first served basis.
Irrigated cotton fields in arid Israel and Texas may one day be watered automatically based on plant temperature.
Steven R. Evett, an Agricultural Research Service soil scientist based at the ARS Conservation and Production Research Laboratory in Bushland, Texas, and colleagues are working with the Israelis on infrared field thermometer sensors to take leaf temperatures from a short distance. They are designing computer programs that can automatically translate temperature readings into on/off irrigation decisions to get the most “crop per drop” of water.
The complete story here.
A textbook on WSN is available for download under the GNU Free Documentation License (GNU FDL). You are free to read, copy and distribute all files. Please acknowledge the author if you include single slides, text or figures into another context. Thanks to Dr. Thomas Haenselmann for his great work!
The book’s page is available here.
“Andy Grove had a saying when I worked at Intel,” says Chuck McMinn, a Silicon Valley veteran who spent 25 years at the chipmaker and a series of startups. “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”
He runs through the high-tech gadgetry dotting Vineyard 29, his Napa Valley winery, which was completed in 2002. There are moisture probes monitoring water use and weather stations that send statistics to a Web site.
The complete article, appeared on Fortune, is available here.
Gartner serves 10,000 organizations, including chief information officers and other senior IT executives in corporations and government agencies, as well as technology companies and the investment community. It delivers the technology-related insights necessary for its clients to make the right decisions.
The advise is not to invest in a technology just because it is being hyped, and not to ignore a technology just because it is not living up to early expectations. Gartner released its annual hype cycle for emerging technologies. The cycle assesses the maturity, impact and adoption speed of 36 key technologies and trends during the next 10 years.
This year’s hype cycle highlights three major themes that are experiencing significant activity and which include new or heavily hyped technologies, where organisations may be uncertain as to which will have most impact on their business: Web 2.0, Real World Web (WSN) and Applications Architecture.
Regarind WSN, the report states that: “The market is still immature and fragmented, and there are few standards, so suppliers will evolve and equipment could become obsolete relatively rapidly. Therefore, this area should be seen as a tactical investment, as mainstream adoption is not expected for more than ten years.”
The complete story is available here.