Los Angeles-based startup Valarm has packed powerful data collection capabilities into its Android app in order to help consumers and commercial users create custom remote monitoring solutions for less.
The app’s not exactly something you’d buy on a whim, though, as the standard app costs $9.98 on Google Play. A classic version of the app that works on older Android devices (before version 3.1) is available for $2.98, but it lacks support for external USB sensors.
The idea behind Valarm is that you can go out and buy a cheap Android smartphone, or use an extra one you have lying around the house, to create a monitoring rig that matches your needs. The project actually got its start because co-founder Lorenzo Gonzalez had his motorcycle stolen and he wanted to build a cheap anti-theft and tracking device for his replacement bike.
Gonzalez and his brother, Edward Pultar, then decided to take the resulting app and turn it into Valarm. They began working on the project in February 2012 and released the app late last year.
Valarm is already plenty useful as a standalone app because of the built-in sensors on today’s smartphones. You could, for instance, use it to monitor an object’s location and then have it take a photo and email it to you when its position changes.
While these kinds of use cases will appeal to plenty of tinkerers, Valarm’s real potential lies in its commercial prospects. The app supports external USB sensors plugged into Android devices to add highly-specialized monitoring capabilities. Possible measurements include: CO2, Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), switches, temperature, lumens, barometric pressure, humidity and on-board diagnostics (including engine RPMs, throttle position and coolant temperature).
More info here.
It consumes very little power. The chips and software behind it are cheap and getting cheaper, and the name incorporates an absolutely insane combination of capital letters and numbers.
What is there not to like about the 6LowPAN standard?
The Android bulb — a networked LED bulb coming out later this year from Google and Lighting Science — will connect to Android phones and other devices through the above-mentioned standard, according to Ted Russ, chief business development officer for the company.
NXP Semiconductor, other sources have said, will supply the chips for the bulbs. It figures. NXP — which was spun out of the Philips conglomerate a few years ago — supplies low-powered NFC (near field communications) chips to Android phone makers already and is a leading expert in energy-efficient, light-bandwidth communications. NXP also announced a component family, called GreenChip, for LED bulbs based around the standard back in May, a few days after Google and Lighting Science announced the Android bulb. JenNet-IP, an open-source software stack, complements GreenChip. TCP, a light manufacturer, already supports GreenChip.
More info here.
As seen in the streaming of Google IO 2011, physical computing and interactive enviroments are one of the main topics opening the conference. The Android Open Accessory Kit is going to allow Android related devices receive data from different sensors (just via USB, for now).
The Android Open Accessory Development Kit (ADK) provides an implementation of an Android USB accessory that is based on the Arduino open source electronics prototyping platform, the accessory’s hardware design files, code that implements the accessory’s firmware, and the Android application that interacts with the accessory. The hardware design files and code are contained in the ADK package download.
The board is based on the Arduino Mega2560 and Circuits@Home USB Host Shield designs, since it communicates to the phone in its “accessory” mode. You can get the custom library / firmware to make it run & test with the shield pictured on top.
More info on the [Android Developer site], via [engadget] source [Google IO].
Internet giant Google and LED manufacturer Lighting Science Group on Tuesday revealed that they have partnered to develop an LED light bulb that can be controlled from an Android-powered smartphone.
The Florida-based lighting firm calls it “intelligent LED lighting,” and announced it with Google during the company’s keynote presentation at its I/O developer conference in San Francisco.
The first product, a 60-watt equivalent bulb, is a combination of Lighting Science’s knowledge of light geometry and Google’s connected software know-how.
An Internet-connected LED bulb? Yes, and here’s why: with a little help from your home’s Wi-Fi network, you can dim or turn off lights remotely — or to program them to do so.
Better still, the LED bulbs can leverage your smartphone’s GPS and proximity sensors, turning on lights when you walk into a room with the phone in your pocket.
Google has always occupied the home area network space, but this is the first time it has addressed a specific appliance in the home. (If you’re an avid reader of SmartPlanet, you’ll know that the “Internet of Things” — from cars to water heaters to toasters to yes, light bulbs — is just around the corner.)
It’s not just a consumer play, but a commercial one, too. Networked lighting companies such asAdura, Lumenergi, Redwood Systems and others — Google rival Microsoft’s focus on commercial building management comes to mind — deal primarily with office buildings and datacenters; this announcement hints at similar applications.
The companies say the product will arrive in retail stores this fall.
More info here.
NEXLEAF is currently looking for innovative and passionate developers who want to write code to make a difference. NEXLEAF is a fresh startup in collaboration with UCLA, working on mobile systems to:
• Monitor indoor air pollution in India using image analysis
• Track seabird conservation efforts on islands using acoustic feature extraction
• Document water and sanitation services in Indonesia using SMS and GIS
Java, Android, Python, Database and Web service programming experience is ideal. Image and acoustic data analysis, GIS, and data visualization experience a plus. Be ready to travel and deploy your systems in the field!
Nexleaf Analytics’ goal is to transform regular mobile phones into leading-edge data collection instruments to impact approach to collecting data on environment, climate change, public health, and community advocacy.
For the full scoop check their flyer here [pdf]
Andy Rubin, father of Google’s Android operating system, waxed ecstatic about the future of mobile computing in a blog post Sept. 19.
Noting that there are roughly 3.2 billion mobile gadget subscribers in the world, Rubin said sensors in our phones power clocks, thermometers, accelerometers and even compasses. Other sensors calculate user location and gauge battery power.
Sensors will be ubiquitous, as Rubin wrote:
Your phone knows a lot about the world around you. If you take that intelligence and combine it in the cloud with that of every other phone, we have an incredible snapshot of what is going on in the world right now. Weather updates can be based on not hundreds of sensors, but hundreds of millions. Traffic reports can be based not on helicopters and road sensors, but on the density, speed, and direction of the phones (and people) stuck in the traffic jams.
Our phones will be smart about our situation and alert us when something needs our attention. While we currently get news alerts or notifications when tickets go on sale, mobile Web apps will monitor our personalized preferences in the Internet cloud and tailor information updates to us.
More info here and here to read the original post.