Archive for the ‘Surveillance’ Category

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 (www.upnp.org) and its adoption by the CE industry consortium such as the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) (www.dlna.org) 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.

Motivation
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.

IBM research on network of earthquake detector and locator

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Computer servers in data centers could do more than respond to requests from millions of internet users. IBM researchers have patented a technique using vibration sensors inside server hard drives to analyze information about earthquakes and predict tsunamis.

“Almost all hard drives have an accelerometer built into them, and all of that data is network-accessible,” says Bob Friedlander, master inventor at IBM. “If we can reach in, grab the data, clean it, network it and analyze it, we can provide very fine-grained pictures of what’s happening in an earthquake.”

The aim is to accurately predict the location and timing of catastrophic events and improve the natural-disaster warning system. Seismographs that are widely used currently do not provide fine-grained data about where emergency response is needed, say the researchers. IBM’s research is not the first time scientists have tried to use the sensors in computers to detect earthquakes.

Seismologists at the University of California at Riverside and Stanford University created the Quake Catcher Network in 2008. The idea was to use the accelerometers in laptops to detect movement. But wading through mounds of data from laptops to accurately point to information that might indicate seismic activity is not easy. For instance, how do you tell if the vibrations in a laptop accelerometer are the result of seismic activity and not a big-rig truck rolling by? That’s why IBM researchers Friedlander and James Kraemer decided to focus on using rack-mounted servers.

“When you are looking at data from a rack that’s bolted to the floor, it’s not the same as what you get from a laptop,” says Kraemer. “Laptops produce too much data and it’s liable to have a lot of noise.”Servers in data centers can help researchers get detailed information because they know the machine’s orientation, its environmental conditions are much better controlled, and the noise generated by the device tends to be predictable. (more…)

Home automation, a buzz word?

Friday, September 17th, 2010

Doing my routine jobs at my workplace, I stumbled upon some articles regarding home automation. It’s an old stuff actually, but I’m sure it will be interesting to read. I’ll share it later with you guys. It’ll be a busy weekend gathering enough points for this issue. There are some criterias to be covered when talking about home automation:

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

If you have any other ideas, that some stuff are related to this issue. Just tweet it to me: @diblos

Modem used in an alarm system

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

ORP Systems

This alarm system senses motion and then alerts you by phone. And this fellow, [Oscar] had an old external modem sitting around and, with some wise hardware choices, he came up with a simple circuit to use it. First up is the PIC 16F628A chosen because it doesn’t require an external crystal. This connects with the modem via a DS275 RS232 transceiver because it requires no external parts for connection. The final portion of the puzzle is a PIR sensor that triggers a pin interrupt in the sleeping PIC, which then dials your number to alert you. It doesn’t look like anything happens other than your phone ringing, but that’s enough for a simple system. We’re glad to see how easy it was to use that modem… time to go hunting for one in dreaded junk trunk. Don’t miss the clip after the break.

What you can see in the video is: The modem is turned on and the pic configures it to disable command echo, change to return numeric responses and turn off the volume of the modem speaker. The user has 15 seconds to leave the room, then the pic waits a motion detection. When it is detected the pic dials a fixed phone number and the user will receive the alert.

The pic is programmed in CCS and the source code is included. Well, I bet it’ll be a great project to make. ^_^

Source ORP Systems

iPort turns iPad and iPod touch into in-wall touchscreens

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

iportwallmountedipad.jpg
Photos courtesy of The Unofficial Apple Weblog

With iPad, home automation would be much easier system to be installed and implemented – and the price would be more affordable.

iPort has introduced two new products in its Control Mount Series for the Apple iPad and iPod touch.  The CM2000 Control Mount for iPad and the iPort CM100 Control Mount for iPod touch both integrate the handheld Apple touchscreen products in an in-wall frame, transforming them into in-wall touchscreens for display of weather, news, stocks and many other preferred Apps.

The CM100 also transforms the iPod touch into an in-wall Internet radio source, and connects to any stereo or audio/video receiver.  Users can download their choice of any Internet radio apps available in the Apple App Store and play the audio back through any connected stereo system.
The CM2000 (US$499) and CM100 ($250) may be installed in either a vertical or horizontal orientation, depending on the functionality and design of the room.  When installed into the iPort, the iPad and iPod touch remain constantly charged.

Courtesy: The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Macsimum News

Arad Metering Technologies Conserves Water via Battery-Operated Drones

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

remote meter reader
Illustration by Chris Philpot

The word drone may sounds related to any contemporary sci-fi flicks, or images of attacks carried out remotely on hostile lands, or even your high-school biology teacher’s voice. We don’t expect a drone to help us save water, but that’s what Arad Metering Technologies intends to do. The Israeli company’s battery-operated drone is one of the novel tools it’s deploying to help consumers and companies conserve H2O — and to make money.

Such an idea would come out of Israel is no coincidence. The country is poor in water and rich in tech innovation, much of it born of constant military conflict. Israel pioneered the use of unmanned aerial vehicles after it lost many fighter jets in the 1973 war. But Arad’s drones don’t fight: They read data from the company’s patented water-meter system to detect leakage or, in irrigation systems, drought.

The World Bank estimates that water wastage costs utilities $14 billion a year worldwide; in developing countries, 200 million more people could be served by the water lost to leaks and theft. Arad CEO Dan Winter says this is largely a consequence of how the business works in places where water is cheap or untaxed: “You train people to abuse water because they pay very little.”

water-drone
Photos courtesy of Arad Technologies LTD

With this innovation, instead of meter reading – it can provide real time monitoring of water supply infrastructures. Its technology can find irregularities — a pipe failure, an unusually low flow rate, or a too-constant one that could indicate a leak — in a few hours, rather than every 60 days as with a typical meter reading.

Arad’s system is built around what looks like a standard meter. The difference is on the inside, where you’ll find 3G wireless technology, a microcontroller, and 20-year batteries. Every 11 to 30 seconds, the system transmits data, which can be picked up by a drone (best for quickly covering big distances in remote areas) or by a drive-by or fixed-base reader. The data are then analyzed by computer to gauge how much water has been consumed, how much was lost, and even where tampering may have taken place. As a result, companies can save both water and man hours.

The possibilities for Arad’s services go far beyond water should be covering abilities to monitor everything from municipal infrastructure, such as traffic lights, to security-camera networks — basically any complex system prone to localized failures and waste. Arad has its own way, to proof drones could be associated with saving, not destroying; life, not death.

Courtersy: Tree Hugger, Fast Company

Talking Tire Monitor detects traction & Tire Pressure

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

tire-pressure-monitoring

Some cars have tire pressure monitoring systems for a while now, but this new system from Schrader Electronics takes that useful concept into the future.

It’s not quite explained whether this wireless Talking Tire Monitoring System actually talks to you, but one way or another it notifies you when your tire pressure is low. But it’s a whole lot smarter than that, showing you how much tread is left on those tires, and even sensing slippery road conditions in real time, notifying you how much traction your tires are getting.

In other aspect, it also could help motorists significantly reduce their carbon tyreprint as vehicles with properly inflated tyres boast an improved fuel efficiency. In addition, underinflated tyres wear out quicker and need replacing more frequently.

Courtesy Guardian via  Dvice

Distributed earthquake monitoring using laptop accelerometers

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

laptopNPRquakecatcher

This is a kind of brilliant idea, since current trends of laptops manufactured with accelerometer sensors. And this would be a large peer-to-peer earthquake warning system. Sounds like SETI@home, but for collecting data instead of processing it. From NPR.org:

Newer models of laptops manufactured by companies like Apple and Lenovo contain accelerometers — motion sensors meant to detect whether the computer has been dropped. If the computer falls, the hard drive will automatically switch off to protect the user’s data.

“As soon as I knew there were these low-cost sensors inside these accelerometers, I thought it would be perfect to use them to network together and actually record earthquakes,” says geoscientist Elizabeth Cochran of the University of California, Riverside.

So a few years ago, Cochran got in touch with Jesse Lawrence, a colleague at Stanford. They whipped up a program called the Quake-Catcher Network. It’s a free download that runs silently in the background, collecting data from the computer’s accelerometer and waiting to detect an earthquake.

Laptop accelerometers aren’t as sensitive as professional-grade seismometers, so they can only pick up tremors of about magnitude 4.0 and above. But when a laptop does sense a tremor, it’ll ping the researchers’ server. “And when our server receives a bunch of those, we then say, ‘This is a likely earthquake,’ ” Lawrence says.

No accelerometer sensor but still want to participate? That won’t be any problem since you can purchase a USB sensor for use on your desktop computers. A lot of these, reportedly, are being installed in public schools.

Courtesy: Make

Public bus transportation notifier

Friday, April 16th, 2010

bus-notifier.jpg

Knuckles904 at Random Hacks of Boredom was tired of waiting for the bus. His town had installed GPS units on the buses so that riders could track their locations via the Internet so he knew there should be a way to avoid the wait while also never missing the bus. He developed a sketch for an Arduino to check the bus location and notify him when it was on its way.

This method saves him from leaving his computer running. It parses the text data from the public transportation website and updates both an LED display, as well as a Twitter feed. Now he can monitor several different bus lines via the hardware at home, or though a cell phone if he’s on the go.

This guy have done a useful tricks and provides some sources to make this project works. Well done!

Data-logging shirt for analyzing baseball biomechanics

Friday, April 16th, 2010

baseball-shirt.jpg

The shirt was developed by Marcus Moche, Alexandra Morgan and David Schmidt as a Capstone Design Project—a senior-level team project that requires students to solve a “real-world” engineering problem or develop a viable product.

Pitchers become more susceptible to injury when they lose consistency in their mechanics—the physics of how they throw the baseball, pitch after pitch. After this, is going to be logged for analysis.

Courtesy: Northeastern