Archive for June, 2008

Realtime sensor network awaits your input or output

Sunday, June 15th, 2008


Wow, this could grow into something quite awesome. Pachube is –

a web service that enables people to tag and share real time sensor data from objects, devices and spaces around the world, facilitating interaction between remote environments, both physical and virtual. The idea is to make it relatively simple to “plug” together interactive projects and buildings around the world, as well as to create embeddable graphs of sensor feeds.

Only eighteen feeds conected at the time of this post – but the datastreams are already quite interesting – from a Japanese living room to a swing in Sweden. Head over to the site to learn how to connect your own sensor/stream – Pachube

Source: MAKE

RFID making in roads in health care

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

tag_green_inhand.gifThe last thing a hospital employee wants to do is run around searching for a piece of equipment needed for a patient or an upcoming surgery. If the device can’t be found, often, hospitals rent the equipment even though it same device may be sitting somewhere in the hospital, such as a storage room or another area long vacated by the patient, unused. These rentals can cut into a hospital’s bottom line.

But using the same scenario, what if you could go to the nearest computer, call up the device number and get notification, within six feet, of where that device is? That’s the purpose behind RFID in a hospital environment. Yes, it’s the same technology used by major retailers or wholesalers to track products or shipments but health care facilities are also using it to save money.

Awarepoint, San Diego, Calif., was founded six-years ago to track assets and people in real time at acute care hospitals, says its CEO, Jason Howe. Like RFID, Awarepoint’s primary product, real time location service, has its own acronym, RTLS, which goes beyond location. “You also need to monitor and get history as well,” says Howe.

The company’s name is derived from this: “Find a point and you’re aware of everything,” says Howe. While Awarepoint is an active RFID company, he compares RTLS to an indoor positioning system. In fact, Awarepoint got its start by tracking kids at theme parks. RTLS grew from that when it was realized that such a system could work well in hospitals, which “have a lot of unique issues,” says Howe.

He describes what he calls five criteria that need to be in place to make RTLS advantageous for hospitals.

First, you need facility-wide coverage. “You have to cover every square inch of your medical facility,” says Howe. He likens this to GPS. If you drive outside a zone that may not be covered, there’s a problem.

Second, it has to be accurate enough to be able to pinpoint the item’s location. Is it in a hallway, outside of the hallway or in a room? “You have to have enough accuracy to tell you where things are,” he says.

Three, it has to be an easy to install. “You can’t afford to pull wires and cables everywhere. And you can’t shut down patient rooms or the operating rooms. You can’t interfere with any systems,” Howe says.

Lastly, you have to be interoperable with other systems in the hospital. “You have to be able to leverage those systems. There needs to be some way of integrating this system. It can’t be its own proprietary system.” (more…)

Alanco to track D.C. inmates

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

prisonAlanco Technologies has announced that its subsidiary Alanco/TSI Prism, a provider of real-time RFID tracking technologies, has won a $3.3 million contract to create an RFID-based inmate tracking system for the Washington D.C. Department of Corrections.

The Alanco/TSI Prism system, which will combine Alanco’s TSI Prism RFID system with Wi-Fi compatible RTLS technology from AeroScout, will be installed at a Washington DC jail complex housing over 2,000 prisoners and staffed by 450 DOC employees. The system is intended to increase safety and improve inmate accountability.

Source: RFID News

Pioneer 10: The Legend of Telemetry

Saturday, June 14th, 2008

1983: Pioneer 10 becomes the first human-made object to pass outside Pluto’s orbit and leave the central solar system.

Pioneer 10 must be considered one of the most successful spacecraft of all time. Designed for deep-space exploration, which at the time of its launch in 1972 meant pretty much anything beyond the moon, Pioneer 10 achieved a number of firsts while sending back valuable data along the way. Among the milestones:

  • Following liftoff, Pioneer 10 achieved a breakaway speed of 32,400 mph, making it the fastest human-made object to leave the Earth. It shot past the moon in a mere 11 hours and crossed Mars’ orbit in just 12 weeks. By the time it reached Jupiter on Dec. 3, 1973, Pioneer 10 was moving along at a crisp 82,000 mph.
  • On July 12, 1972, Pioneer 10 became the first spacecraft to pass through the asteroid belt. NASA described this as a “spectacular achievement” and, considering that asteroids the size of Alaska hurtle through the belt at 45,000 mph, there’s no reason to dispute the claim.
  • Upon reaching Jupiter, Pioneer 10 sent back the first direct observations and close-up images of the solar system’s largest planet. It was data from Pioneer 10 that confirmed that Jupiter is mostly a liquid planet.
  • After clearing Pluto’s orbit (considered the boundary of the planetary solar system in the decades before astronomers decided Pluto isn’t really a planet), Pioneer 10 continued to send back valuable data regarding solar wind, until its scientific mission ended in 1997.

All attempts to contact Pioneer 10 were terminated following the spacecraft’s last transmission of telemetry data on April 27, 2002. Nevertheless, NASA’s Deep Space Network received a final, faint signal on Jan. 22, 2003. It’s been silence ever since.

Although lost to contact forever, Pioneer 10 continues its endless journey through interstellar space. It’s headed in the general direction of Aldebaran, the brightest star in constellation Taurus, forming the bull’s eye. According to NASA, it will take about 2 million years for Pioneer 10 to reach Taurus.

So Pioneer 10’s mission, originally intended to go 21 months, lasted 25 years and change. As project manager Larry Lasher said, “I guess you could say we got our money’s worth.”

Source: NASA

Making Renewable, Carbon-Neutral Oil — From Algae

Friday, June 13th, 2008

A San Diego start-up says it is using algae to make oil that can be refined into gasoline and other fuels that are both renewable and carbon-neutral, and it plans to produce 10,000 barrels a day within five years.

That’s a fraction of the 20 million or so barrels of petroleum the United States consumes each day, but Sapphire Energy says “green crude” production could ramp up to a level sufficient to ease our dependence on foreign oil, if not end it altogether.

Company CEO Jason Pyle says the algal oil is chemically identical to light sweet crude and compatible with America’s $1.5 trillion petroleum infrastructure, making it a direct replacement for oil. Although the algal fuels refined from it emit as much carbon dioxide as conventional fuels, the company says the emissions are offset by the photosynthetic process that uses sunlight, water and C02 to create algal crude.

“At the very worst, it’s carbon neutral,” Pyle says, calling the fuels a “benchmark for an entire new industry” and “a paradigm change.”

Read more about this:Wired, MSN News

Plug-In Hybrid Leads Toyota’s Drive Beyond Oil

Friday, June 13th, 2008

Amazing how just last year, Toyota thought the need for a PHEV was not needed and was very miffed at those third party vendors waiting to do PHEV conversion on existing Prius’s. They also did not believe Li-Ion batteries had the stamina of Nimh and had no plans for those. As for being the #1 green auto manufacturer, you should take into account the entire product line-up, not just one car. Read more on this article.

HP offers RFID tracking service

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

Hewlett-Packard has introduced a new service which enables clients to track their critical data center assets. The HP Factory Express RFID Service automates and tracks device movement, eliminating the need for employees to manually track inventory.

The HP tagging process scans factory-built HP components such as servers, storage devices and rack enclosures before they are incorporated into a client’s data center, and provides an accurate inventory of the assets throughout their life cycle. The service can provide real-time supply chain visibility, helping to reduce property loss, increase security and improve audit controls.

There are two levels of the service available. The HP RFID Factory Express Standard Service includes standard generation-two RFID tags affixed to specific HP products or packaging with a unique Electronic Product Code assignment and data tracking capabilities. The HP RFID Factory Express Custom Service allows for customized RFID tag placement and additional RFID services from HP that transmit RFID tracking information from the factory to the customer.

The HP Factory Express RFID Service is available directly through HP or its channel partners in the United States and Canada, or as part of HP Factory Express, a broader portfolio of integrated factory solutions and deployment services. HP plans to extend the service to customers worldwide over the next year.

Source: RFID News

Wireless Temperature Monitoring Systems for School Food Services

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

Green Edge Systems, Inc., a trusted leader of HACCP temperature monitoring and control solutions, performance monitoring and energy savings for school food services presents it DataNet state-of-the-art affordable hardware products, software and communication platforms in the TEXAS ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL Nutrition (TASN) conference and exhibition , June 10-11, 2008 Corpus Christi, Texas

The DataNet Wireless Intelligent HACCP temperature monitoring system is the most advanced reliable and affordable Zigbee wireless sensor system. Read more…

Zigbee Aquarium Controller

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

The ReefKeeper Elite is true to its name, standing alone in the industry as the most innovative aquarium controller on the market. With the most intuitive interface and easy use system controls, you’ll find it will simplify all aspects of your aquarium system that it controls. There’s also no need to find a power outlet near the head unit as there’s no power cord needed; power is provided right from the bus. The compact and convenient design, multiple mounting options and great looks makes the ReefKeeper Elite right for almost any installation; and without any unsightly probe wires dangling about, the head unit will add a touch of class to any tank!

While a USB connection for your ReefKeeper Elite is needed for updates to firmware, nobody wants an unsightly wire running from their ReefKeeper to their PC. This will offer a Zigbee like wireless network experience. While we’re not ready to release all the details, our wireless module will give you freedoms and abilities that other systems just can’t offer. More to come on this optional module.

Source: Reefbuilders

World’s first carbon-free city

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

carbon_neutral_city.03.jpgNO CARS ALLOWED: Masdar will be filled with shaded streets to encourage walking. A solar-powered transit system will take you to the airport.
It may seem strange that the emirate of Abu Dhabi, one of the planet’s largest suppliers of oil, is planning to build the world’s first carbon-neutral city.
But in fact, it makes a lot of financial sense. The 3.7-square-mile city, called Masdar, will cut its electricity bill by harnessing wind, solar, and geothermal energy, while a total ban on cars within city walls should reduce the long-term health costs associated with smog.
Masdar is still on the drawing board — construction begins in January, with a very tentative completion date of 2009 — but the result will be watched closely around the world.
“If they can construct a zero-carbon city in this climate, you can do it anywhere,” says Richard Young, a research manager with SustainLane, which evaluates sustainable cities and products. “It will have tremendous economic impact.”
Indeed, all companies that sign up to take part — a list that so far includes British Petroleum (Charts), Fiat, General Electric (Charts, Fortune 500), and Mitsubishi — will get hefty carbon-credit bonuses, redeemable on the world’s two major carbon exchanges.