Archive for the ‘Telematics’ Category

How Earthquake and Tsunami Warning Systems Work

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

seismic flowchart

How Earthquake and Tsunami Warning Systems? — Earthquake and tsunami warning systems both monitor the same thing: seismic waves. Seismic data takes the Earth’s pulse directly, so when the earth shakes, we get immediate feedback. If all goes well, we have enough time to run.
Lots of organizations watch for earth movement. The U.S.’s Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS), for instance, runs 95 stations across North America. When there’s an earthquake, ANSS sends out a signal in real time, which alerts government agencies and emergency response personnel.
Earthquakes on land are serious business, to be sure, but responding to them is fairly straightforward: Direct the appropriate resources to the place where the alarm bell rang the loudest. But when earthquakes cause tsunamis, an international effort is usually required. Think about it: An earthquake under the sea doesn’t just cause a killer wave directly above it. Landmasses shift, water is displaced, and, depending on several other factors, it could end up anywhere.
Seismic waves travel 100 times faster than ocean waves, so you have to take the Earth’s movement into account to figure out when the wall of water will hit land. To understand just how important it is to use seismic data to get people safe, you only need to look back to the magnitude-9.0 Indonesian quake of 2004. The Indian Ocean had no early warning system in place, and the tsunami triggered by the earthquake killed 200,000 people in eleven countries—including 30,000 people in Sri Lanka, 1000 miles away from the epicenter. Information just didn’t get to the people who needed it fast enough.
But today, when the 8.9 hit, the Japan Meteorological Agency issued a major tsunami warning within three minutes of the event. Six minutes after that, Islands in the South pacific, Hawaii and Russia were told to watch their shores. The collaborating systems are a part of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission run by UNESCO, which organizes international disaster response.
Japan is hyperaware of its shaky ground. The country withstands some thousand tremors a year, and they’ve got 180 seismographs and 600 seismic intensity meters constantly tuned to what’s going on in the underworld. They also have around 30 sea level gauges operated by the coast guard and around 80 operated by the JMA that work in chorus to provide feedback to a Data Processing and Communication system. The sensors take a reading, upload it to a central processing system using old fashioned wires and/or satellite uplink, and that central system sends updates to the government, police, coast guard, telephone companies, and the media. Sea level gauges also report disturbances in real time and help organizations model trajectory and size of the oncoming waves.
And then there are more specialized tools. The NOAA, for instance, has a handful of tsunami detection buoys that help rule out false alarms and give monitoring agencies a better idea of what they’re in for-or what their not. NOAA’s Deep Ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunami system—which goes by the slick moniker ‘DART’—is made up of an anchored sea floor bottom pressure recorder and accompanying fiberglass and foam buoy on the surface. The recorder on the ocean floor, which takes a note of temperature and pressure every 15 seconds, sends data via an acoustic link to the surface buoy. The buoy then sends information by satellite to Tsunami warning centers.
How does the information get to you? Warning systems coordinate with the media. That’s how you got the information on your front page. To get even faster info, in many places you can sign up for text alerts if something disastrous is happening-or will happen, in the case of a tsunami-in your area.

courtesy: gizmodo

Emergency Kiosks – Penang Island, Malaysia

Sunday, March 13th, 2011
Police Emergency Kiosks

Police Emergency Kiosks

Complete end-to-end IP video technology is behind an integrated public safety system on Penang Island, the most populated of Malaysia’s islands. Its capital, Georgetown, attracts many tourists and, as with other city centers around the world, it faces a complex security environment, including criminal activity and traffic issues.
The surveillance project consists of 31 PTZ dome cameras connected via a wireless IP network monitoring the whole of the Georgetown area. The cameras are focused on crime and traffic hot spots such as tourist areas, banks, petrol stations, traffic intersections and commercial centers.
The integration features of the IP video solution allowed a number of emergency kiosks to be installed in tourist areas. Using a transmitter/receiver module, which can transmit high-quality video and audio as well as digital input/output, a standalone video intercom solution for the kiosks was developed. When a member of the public activates the emergency button, two-way communication is opened up with one of the control room operators via a hidden microphone and camera in the kiosk. The intercom video from the kiosk automatically displays on a video management workstation and the nearest PTZ is panned and zoomed to the kiosk area. This is all achieved over the wireless network. The only cabling required is power to each of the kiosks. The PTZ domes are also connected to transmitter modules and the audio capability is used to provide public announcement facilities through speakers mounted with each camera.


Going cellular with your Arduino projects

Sunday, February 6th, 2011


It will be more interesting if we can get our projects connected, via wires or wirelessly. It can extend the functionality of the project itself. Here, i would like to share some useful stuff in order to add functionalities to your Arduino project.

You can add a huge measure of extensibility to a project by using a cellular connection. Anywhere the device can get service you can interact with it. In the past this has been a pretty deep slog through datasheets to get everything working, but this tutorial will show the basics of interacting with phone calls and text messages. It’s the 26th installment of what is becoming and mammoth Arduino series, and the first one in a set that works with the SM5100B cellular shield.

We love the words of warning at the top of the article which mention that a bit of bad code in your sketch could end up sending out a barrage of text messages, potentially costing you a bundle. But there’s plenty of details and if you follow along each step of the way we think you’ll come out fairly confident that you know what you’re doing. Just promise us that you won’t go out and steal SIM cards to use with your next project. Find part two of the tutorial here and keep your eyes open for future installments.

courtesy hackaday

Save sensor data to Google Spreadsheets by Codebox

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

I found this is really a good way to gather data, since Google Spreadsheets is free and can be accessed from any places in the world as long as connected to the internet. Plus, you can share it with selected persons you want. It’s quite useful for scientific researchers to share and analyze their findings. Check this out (completed with the codes):

The “Hello Arduino” section in Chapter 11 of Getting Started with Processing shows how to read data into Processing from Arduino. In a nutshell, the Arduino code (example 11-6 in the book) reads data from a light sensor and writes it out to the serial port. The section then goes on to describe a number of increasingly sophisticated sketches that retrieve and visualize the sensor data using Processing’s Serial library.

This Codebox shows you how to save this sensor data to a Google Spreadsheet. The cool thing is that you can then use any of the goodies that Google provides (charts, gadgets, maps, etc) directly with your data. While the light sensor is pretty basic, you can use this basic setup to record data from more sophisticated sensors, such as a Parallax GPS receiver module into Google Spreadsheets, and then create a map of where you’ve been that you could post as a gadget.

The sketch relies on the Google API Client Library for Java, which is a set of code libraries for interacting with various Google’s services (not just Spreadsheets). In researching this article, I found Processing guru Jer Thorpe‘s article Open Science, H1N1, Processing, and the Google Spreadsheet API a great inspiration. While it’s based on an older version of the API (version 1.0, while the APIs are now up to version 3.0), it’s a great introduction to interacting with Google.

Courtesy Make

Car eye-tracking system wakes you before you crash

Sunday, November 28th, 2010


Falling asleep while at the helm of a few tons of metal and plastic going 60 miles-per-hour doesn’t end well, but there’s little the modern car can do about it. If it, say, stopped itself suddenly it could become a hazard to other drivers. The Eyetracker system knows it’s not on the car, though — it’s on you to drive safe.

With that in mind, the German-based Eyetracker watches the driver’s face for telltale signs of sleepiness, and issues a warning if it looks like you’re about to doze off. The system uses two cameras to keep tabs on the spatial positioning of the pupil and the line of vision — which would waver if you’re about to pass out. In other words, it makes sure your eyes are on the road.

What’s really exciting here is how small and easy to install the system is, which could see it put to use in ways other than keeping drivers awake (a noble cause, to be sure). Despite the picture above, the Eyetracker doesn’t need a laptop to function, and its control unit is the size of a matchbox. What’s more, it can be installed in any car as it handles all of its own processing itself.

Beyond just the automobile world, the Eyetacker could aid in medical operations where being able to keep on eye on — well — an eye is essential, or even in video games, serving as a head-tracker that lets the player look around without the aid of a physical controller.

Source: Fraunhofer

It’s an Arduino-based speed detector

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

Flash / Arduino Based Speed Detector from Mike Chambers on Vimeo.

Mike Chambers built this excellent looking arduino-based speed detector. An Arduino measures the time it takes an object to travel between two points, which is then relayed back to a computer (or smart phone), where it is converted into average speed and presented in a clear manner. The concept for the project is simple, however he wins big points for putting it all together into a working package.

courtesy: Arduino Blog

Smart Building Category

Sunday, October 24th, 2010


As for me this category is going to be my future project, so I would like to add this as a new category. I think, it would be more convenient to access all home and building automation related articles by this unique category. And as been mentioned in previous post, Home automation, a buzz word? This category will covers articles related as follows:

  • efficient energy management
  • security and surveilance
  • news and entertainment
  • drainage and watering monitoring system
  • alternative energy

These Tiny Magnetometers Detect Fields Generated by Human Heart!

Sunday, October 24th, 2010


How can i imagine this tiny and ‘poor’ little thing can help a human life? hmm… I’m still thinking.

At the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) scientists have been working on microfabricated atomic magnetometers capable of detecting faint magnetic fields. The devices, about 1cm3 in size, were taken to the Physikalisch Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) in Berlin, Germany where supposedly resides the most magnetically isolated building in the world. Using the tiny magnetometers, investigators were able to detect the magnetic signature of human heartbeats, perhaps opening up the possibility for a new modality to complement ECG.

Courtesy of

A brief about Smart Home

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Smart Home is an intelligent and easy-to-use home management system that offers a richer set of home services by allowing appliances to interact with each other seamlessly. Capabilities of appliances are used as “Lego Kits” that can be mixed and matched to provide different home services for security, well-being, energy management and entertainment.

  • Built upon open communication UPnP standards.
  • “Lego Kits” to provide services to the home user.
  • A single user interface to manage appliances and customize home services.

Brief Introduction
The Smart Home project’s objective is to develop a reference implementation of a smart home system. This implementation utilities the Uninersal Plug n Play (UPnP) standard that has been adopted by major consumer electronic (CE) manufacturers as the emerging standard for device interoperability.

UPnP is an open standard ( and its adoption by the CE industry consortium such as the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) ( augurs well for the end consumer. Home solutions (devices, system etc) will no longer be stovepipe (proprietary, single brand) in nature, as an open standard will ensure a common playing field and consumers will be free to choose amongst the various brand offerings.

The following set of current problems/opportunities form the basis of the motivation underlying this project.

  • Devices are standalone in nature and typically do not communicate with other devices.
  • Due to the above (1), devices cannot cooperate/collaborate to jointly provide a richer set of services to the consumer.
  • Devices are difficult to setup and configure.
  • Even if (3) was made simple, it is difficult to pair devices and provision services.
  • Home networks are becoming more pervasive. Such networks are not just confined to ICT equipments (computers, printers, access point etc). Typical home devices/equipment such as lamps, stereo set, television etc will be part of the home network.

TeenyChron: A Linux-based GPS-synched NTP server

Sunday, September 26th, 2010


The genesis of this clock stems from one of my other hobbies, Ham Radio. I wanted a reasonably accurate clock that would display both local and UTC time on a large LED display. Everything I could find missed the mark by at least one feature. So I set out to design a clock with the above features, and also with the additional feature of being a stratum one NTP time Server, that is synchronized to a GPS’s pulse per second (PPS) signal.

At the heart of the system I am using a small single board computer based upon an ARM processor running Linux. I actually purchased the board in 2006 for another undertaking that is still in my long list of projects. The TS-7400 Computer-on-Module is built and sold by Technologic Systems. In the configuration I bought the SBC I paid $155 for a single unit. Mine has 64MB of RAM, 32MB of Flash, a battery backed up real time clock (RTC), and runs a 200Mhz ARM processor. I’ve configured the board to boot and mount a file system from a 2Gig SD card. I love this board! It runs a full version of Debian Linux. To date, every standard software package I’ve loaded complies and runs without any trouble.

courtesy of TeenyChron