Friday Gadget: The MAB Automated Cleaning System for your house

Gadget - MAB - Automatic Cleaning SystemIn my house, I am the one usually dusting, cleaning, and vacuuming.  It’s not that I like doing the cleaning…it’s just that the other family members never seem to do be interested in having a clean house.   So this Friday’s Gadget post is one that I really like as it paint’s a future where I don’t have to do the cleaning.  

The automated robotic cleaning concept system called MAB, relies on flying mini-robots.   The concept won the 2013 Electrolux Design Lab Competition.  Check out the video below.

The ‘Mab’ automated cleaning system uses hundreds of tiny robots that fly around and collect dust and dirt.   Designer Adrian Perez Zapata says he created the system with the idea that he could  free the human race from the tedious task of cleaning.  In his Mab design, micro-robots do the work to clean every surface of your house while you sit back and relax.   I love that idea. 

Here’s how his Mab concept works.  Think of the Mab core unit as like a beehive and the flying robots as the bees.  In this case, hundreds of tiny flying robots are loaded with drops of water mixed with soap.  The Mab core unit scans the room, identifies dimensions and potential problem areas.  It then releases the flying robots to clean.  As the robots touch surfaces, the cleaning fluid picks up dirt and then the flying robot returns it to the central unit.  Back at the Mab Core unit, the dirt is filtered out from the liquid, which is then then cycled through the Mab core unit for reuse.

 

 

Embedded in Adrian’s design concept is that the Mab could be powered through wireless energy or solar energy.   He also says the wings of each robot could have solar panels to collect energy.

Just think…in the future you may never have to clean again

Wearables: Conferences and Events

“By 2017, Gartner predicts that wearable devices will drive 50 percent of total app interactions.” – Brian Blau, research director at Gartner

I am in the process of researching the Wearables marketplace.  I will be publishing a Trend Report on the topic sometime soon.

I’ve developed the following list of conferences and events related to the Wearable topic.

Start Date Event Name Location
10/9/2013 Wearable Technologies Conference 2013 I Asia Taipei
12/10/2013 Wearable Tech Expo Los Angeles
1/26/2014 11th Wearable Technologies Conference 2014 / Europe Munich
3/5/2014 Wearables DevCon San Francisco
3/18/2014 Wearable Technology Conference and Expo London
3/25/2014 Wearable Tech Expo Tokyo
4/23/2014 Smart Fabrics + Wearable Technology 2014 San Francisco
4/24/2014 M2M World – Wearable Tech Conference London
7/7/2014 Wearables Technology Conference 2014 / USA San Francisco
7/23/2014 Wearable Tech Expo New York
9/22/2014 Wearable Technology UX 2014 London
9/13/2014 International Symposium on Wearable Computers Seattle

I realize there are probably a number of other ones I have missed.  If you know of others, please let me know…I would like to create a master list and include it in my Trend Report.

Friday Gadget: Rapport Device Detects and Reacts to Human Emotions

I’ve decided to bring back the Friday Gadget posts after a very long absence. 

I am not really a gadget guy, but I do like to think about what types of products future generations will have that will make their life easier and think about how emerging technologies will be a part of our lives in the future. When I first started blogging back in 2006, every Friday I would post about a concept for a future technology or gadget.   The series of posts were designed to help us all take a step back on a Friday, have a little fun, and help us all imagine how technology can disrupt the future. 

So I am bringing back the Friday Gadget posts.  I am not sure how long the series will last this time, but we will have fun with it while it lasts…

For this first new post , I found a project team that asked the question:  What if your gadgets knew how you were feeling and could then respond appropriately?   A group of designers developed a device they call Rapport that can observe, analyze and react to your facial expressions in order to select a music playlist that suits you the best.  Once you make eye contact with the device, it leans forward and analyzes your facial expression. Taking into account the time of day, it selects a song that it feels might suit your current mood.   The Rapport device starts the playback of the song at a fairly low volume, but will boost the volume if it sees you smiling or excited.

Under the covers, the team utilized 4 different software programs including Visual Studio (stores the facial recognition library and eye tracking code), Processing (runs the facial recognition library), Max/Msp(controls volume and curates music) and Arduino (drives the stepper motors inside the device).

Potential initial applications could include smart homes, retirement homes, entertainment events, and education.  In the future, application developers will utilize emotion detection systems to design robots that understand how better to interact with humans.   Over time robots could learn to understand how different humans react emotionally and treat each person differently based on both visual and auditory inputs. 

For more, check out these resources:   1) Rapport Introduction (Youtube), 2) Rapport Demonstration (YouTube), 3) Emotional Intelligence (Yanko Design), 4) Feeling the Music;  Gadget Reads Emotions to Choose Songs (Gajitz)

Internet of Things (IoT) Trend and Prediction Articles for 2014

The Internet of Things (IoT) is made up of physical objects (“things”) that have chips, sensors and actuators embedded in them that allow the sensing, capturing and communication of all types of data. These devices are then linked through both wired and wireless networks to the Internet. The IT challenge is to design IoT enabled systems and then leverage the information collected as a tool to help decision makers make better decisions.

I recently published my trend report Internet of Things: Trends to Watch in 2014 out on slideshare.   The report provides an overview of Internet of Things (IoT) and what to watch in 2014. Below I’ve provided you some articles on this trend that I thought you would want to read.

Source Title
InterSog How wearable technology will change future mobile paradigm [Part 1]
ComputerWorld.IN Internet of Things: 2013 Highlights & Outlook 2014
CNBC Wearable tech: What it needs to be a game-changer
Credit Suisse The Future of Wearable Technology
ZDNet AT&T’s predictions for the enterprise in 2014
Cisco Predictions 2014: Wager on the Internet of Everything
Digital-MR Driving Better Business Decisions With Social Media Research And The Internet Of Things
Forbes Credit Suisse Says Warable Tech The Next Big Thing
InfoTales 5 Things to Look Forward to in the Future of Wearable Technology
MsM News Will the ‘Internet of things’ be a thing in 2014?

 

SteadyServ’s iKeg™ Solution: Leveraging The Third Computing Platform

SteadyServ iKegThe collection of IoT (Internet of Things), Mobile, Cloud, Social, and Data Analytics trends are enabling a whole new era of intelligent solutions for businesses of all sizes.   IDC calls this the Third Platform and Gartner calls it the Nexus of Forces.  Whatever you want to call it, we are experiencing a historical transformation in the computing platform for businesses.  Solution providers must accelerate their ability to develop solutions that leverage these collection of trends.

For an example of a Solution Provider leveraging this new computing platform, have a look at SteadyServ Technologies.  SteadyServ has just launched the iKeg™, a mobile SaaS-based (software as a service) inventory management solution, for the beer industry.   According to  SteadyServ CEO and co-founder Steve Hershberger, “beer sold in retail establishments accounts for a $21bn industry, yet the industry still relies on the inaccurate process of ‘shaking the keg’ – the same method used since the inception of the product.”  SteadyServ has set out to automate beer inventory management.

At the heart of their new solution is a sensor that easily attaches to the bottom of a beer keg.  That sensor can tell a beer distributor or a tavern owner, in real time, exactly how many kegs are in the cooler and how much beer is left in each keg. 

The iKeg™ system actually consists of three parts – the hardware, software and a mobile app.  The hardware combines the aforementioned removable sensor ring and a RFID tag.  Once the RFID tag is scanned, the cloud-based software receives the data from the sensor, tracking how much beer remains, type of beer, age and when it was delivered.  Analytics in the iKeg™ solution measures and reports the real-time inventory of draft kegs, which is all accessible via a mobile app. 

The iKeg™ mobile app allows you to send customizable automatic social alerts to Facebook and Twitter every time a new beer goes on tap. It also provides a number of fully-integrated tools to help promote your establishment, special event or a unique beer that you might want to highlight. Have a look at the mobile app in the video below.

SteadyServ’s new iKeg Mobile App

Pretty neat, isn’t it?

The iKeg™ solution also automates the order and fulfillment process for the entire inventory of draft, bottled and canned beers.   All this information is then tallied with the stock, the next delivery date, previous order information, event information, and past and future beer consumption trends.  In addition, the iKeg™ solution uses advanced machine-to-machine communication technologies to ensure that the system is secure, reliable and highly scalable.  

It seems to me SteadyServ has a bright future ahead.  It’s a perfect example of an innovative solution provider leveraging the IoT (Internet of Things), Mobile, Cloud, Social, and Data Analytics trends.   I see the a whole new era of similar cloud-based solutions that will be developed and implemented as part of this new computing platform.

For more on iKeg™ or SteadyServ, check out their website at http://www.steadyserv.com.  You can also follow SteadyServ on Twitter at @steadyserv or via the hashtag #ikeg.

28 Internet of Things (IoT) Trends and Prediction Articles for 2013

Internet of Things For the last 10 posts I’ve been sharing my research with you around top trends for 2013. I’ve covered everything from Social Business to Big Data to Cloud Computing.   Today I am sharing a list of 28 articles and blog posts that discuss the developments we might see in 2013 around the trend called “Internet of Things” or IoT for short.

The IoT refers to the explosion of embedded sensors and intelligent devices that are flooding our every day lives.  Sensors are being embedded in all sorts of ‘things’ from fitness monitors, to cars, to water main valves.   There are forecasts from industry analysts that say there will be up to 100 billion uniquely identifiable objects connected to the Internet by 2020.  Many of these devices will be able to talk to other devices and computers without any human intervention.  Enterprises can deploy their own sensor networks, building sense and respond systems that can work autonomously.  Some say that the IoT will be the most disruptive technological revolution since the advent of the World Wide Web. 

Below you will find a list of 28 articles that discuss the IoT and what developments we might expect to see in 2013. 

Source Title of Article / Blog Post
AlertMe CES 2013 and The Internet of Things
BusinessWeek CES 2013: Connected Devices and the Internet of Things
Connect.innovateuk.org 2013 likely to be a big year for IoT
Elizabeth Presson 2013 Forecast: The Internet of Things is Changing Your World, So Pay Attention
Elizabeth Presson The Internet of Things at CES 2013
Fierce Wireless Europe 2013 M2M predictions
Forbes CES 2013: The Break-Out Year For The Internet Of Things
Forbes CES 2013: The Four-Sentence Summary
Forbes How The Internet Of Things Will Change Almost Everything
formtek.com The Internet of Things: Engine of Economic Growth?
Frost & Sullivan Global Increase in Adoption of Real-Time Location Systems Depends on Technological Innovations
IT Watch Dogs In 2013, expect the ‘Internet of Things’ to take off
M2MWorldNews Deutsche Telekom M2M predictions for 2013
MediaPost The Internet Of Things And The Data It Will Produce
MIT Technology Review 2013: The year of the Internet of Things
newelectronics.co.uk Outlook 2013: Are you ready for the ‘Internet of Things’?
RCR Wireless 2013 Predictions: M2M and the ‘Internet of things’ in 2013
SemanticWeb How the Internet of Things Will Reshape the World in 2013
SemanticWeb.com 2013: The Year of the Internet of Things
Solid State Technology 2013: Building the internet of things with MEMS and 3D advances
sourcedigit.com Why 2013 is going to be the year of the Internet of Things
TechRepublic 2013’s hot topic: The Internet of Things (and our new way of covering it)
The Next Web Quantified Self and the Internet of Things: Everyone is collecting your data, so why shouldn’t you?
The Next Web Why 2013 will be the year of the Internet of Things
ThreeWill Predictions – Internet of Things
VentureBeat 2013: The Internet of things, delivered via smartphone
Venturebeat.com 2013 will be the year of ‘the Internet of things’ as more than 5B wireless chips ship
Wired 2013 and the Internet of Things

IBM Research’s “5 in 5” list for 2012 Features Cognitive Computing

5 in 5 Every year about this time, IBM Research has been publishing an annual list called “Next 5 in 5” which provides predictions about five emerging technologies that IBM feels will impact our lives in five years.

Today IBM released it’s list for this year and it features an enabling and emerging technology called cognitive computing.

This year’s “Next 5 in 5” cover how computers will enhance the human senses of  Sight, Touch, Hearing, Smell and Taste.    A brief summary of the five predictions are below, along with links to more detail.

  1. Sight: A pixel will be worth a thousand words. There is a lot of work going on in that area of visualization and imaging analytics technology.  IBM says that computers will be able to analyze and act upon large volumes of visual streams of information to help us make better decisions.  Read more at IBM 5 in 5 2012: Sight
  2. Touch:  You will be able to touch through your phone.  Imagine being able to feel the texture in fabric over a mobile screen.  IBM Research says that haptic, infrared, and vibration technologies will enable a touchscreen to simulate the physical sensation of touching something.  Read more at IBM 5 in 5 2012:  Touch
  3. Hearing: Computers will hear what matters.   IBM says that embedded sensors will pick up sound patterns and frequency changes and then advanced algorithms embedded in apps will be able to understand and predict events before they occur….allowing for better decisions and communications in real-time.  Read more at IBM 5 in 5 2012: Hearing
  4. Smell: Computers will have a sense of smell.   In the future, sensors in a smartphone will be able to detect and distinguish different odors.  Mobile apps will be able to analyze these odors (chemicals, biomarkers, molecules) and provide insights and recommendations back to the smartphone user.  Read more at IBM 5 in 5 2012: Smell
  5. Taste: Digital taste buds will help you eat smarter.   IBM Research says that in the future computers will be able to develop new recipes and meals by using a the molecular structure of foods to optimize flavors and nutrition.   Read more at IBM 5 in 5 2012: Taste

In my mind…the list represents an interesting set of predictions foreshadowing how in the future 1) computers will be able to give people back senses they may have lost (or never had) and 2) robots will have the ability to simulate human senses.  However, there are many other potential applications of the technologies that we can imagine that will benefit corporations, governments, and consumers.  For example, firemen responding to a fire in a manufacturing plant will have mobile devices that help them understand if there are any toxic gases.  Police departments will be able to listen for patterns in gang neighborhoods to anticipate when and where skirmishes might happen. Automobiles will have embedded capability on board to detect problems with the engine based on sound patterns.  Consumers shopping online will be able to ‘touch’ the fabric of of a sweater before buying.

For more information…

IDC Energy Insights Predictions for 2012 Utilities Industry

I recently attended IDC Energy Insights Predictions 2012:  Utilities conference call today.  I look forward to the IDC Insights series of conference calls every year as it helps me understand the critical issues and trends that impact Information Technology decisions within a particular industry. 

In this case, the predictions were focused on the Utilities industry with an emphasis on North American issues.  There are other calls coming up that focus on Europe and Asia.   

Leading the conference call was the IDC Energy Insights team of Jill Feblowitz, Jay Holman, Sam Jaffe, Usman Sindhu, Casey Talon and Marcus Torchia

Summary and Key Themes

IDC Energy Insights says in 2012, the industry is entering a ‘post stimulus’ period.  While funding has dried up, there are areas where investment spending is growing, such as Solar PV installations.   Other investment areas include Smart Grid, Smart Buildings, Electric Vehicles, and Energy Storage.

The 2012 predictions list below was sourced from the conference call slides.

  1. Smart Meters. “Smart meters will peak in 2012, propelling demand response, but spending tempered for now”.
  2. Smart Grids. “Distribution automation will lead smart grid control investments with 13% CAGR”
  3. Smart Buildings. “Smart building technology investments will gain more traction with utilities”
  4. Electric Vehicles. “120,000 plug-in electric vehicles will be sold in North America in 2012”
  5. Lithium Batteries. “Lithium-Ion large format batteries will reach $600 per kWh by the end of the year”
  6. Solar PV Installations. “Despite the 1603 Treasury Grant expiring in 2011, PV installations will grow by >25% in 2012”
  7. Commercial PV. “>60 MW of commercial PV installations will incorporate micro-inverters or DC optimizers in 2012”
  8. Security & Risk. “Security and risk will continue to grab decision maker’s attention, leading to increased budgets”
  9. Big Data Analytics. “Utilities will invest in analytics in anticipation of big data”
  10. IT Spending. “IT spending by North American utilities will increase by 4.5% % over the next four years”

For More Information

A Primer On Water Management Issues

IBM Water Mgmnt Icon Today is Blog Action day at water.org.  It's a good time to get the word out to everyone on water management issues. Read more about water.org's blog action day at Blog Action Day – Working Together To Solve The Water Crisis.  This post is my contribution to the Blog Action Day.

Most of us reading this post take our access to water for granted.  However, I would imagine that we all realize that water is critical to sustaining life on our planet.  Water makes up 60 to 70% by weight of all living organisms and is essential for photosynthesis.  If the Earth’s water supply vanished, there would be no plants, no animals, and no people. 

While the Earth’s water is not vanishing, many scientists believe that our global water supply is in crisis.  We may or may not be at the crisis stage, but we definitely need to take action to solve our water management issues.

Some Quick Facts About WaterWater Wasted

  • Water covers 75% of the earth's surface.  Nearly 98% of the earth's water is in the oceans.  Fresh water makes up less than 3% of water on earth, over two thirds of this is tied up in polar ice caps and glaciers.  Fresh water lakes and rivers make up only 0.009% of water on Earth and ground water makes up 0.28%.
  • It takes 700 gallons of water to make a cotton T-shirt, 2,000 gallons to make one gallon of milk, and 39,000 gallons to make a car.
  • Global agriculture wastes an estimated 60% of the 2,500 trillion liters it uses each year. 
  • Municipalities lose as much as 50% of their water supply through leaky infrastructure.  
  • More than one trillion gallons of water are wasted in U.S. homes each year from easy-to-fix leaks.
  • 1 in 5 of the word’s population still lacks access to clean, safe drinking water. 
  • The United Nations predicts that nearly half the world’s population will experience critical water shortages by the year 2080.
  • There are nearly 53,000 different water agencies in the United States alone, each managing a short stretch of river or a handful of reservoirs. 
  • In the last 100 years global water usage has increased at twice the rate of population growth.

For those of us living in developed nations, our water infrastructure is many decades old.  In fact, in some places it is centuries old.  As our demand for water is increasing, we need to modernize the existing infrastructure.  One way to do that is to apply information technology.

Today’s water management systems are operating without enough data and insights.   The planet needs new water management systems, based on smart technology that can collect and analyze real-time data.  These new systems will provide water authorities with the insights they need to supply more water to more people with lower energy-use and cost. 

How Can Technology Help?

What is needed are water management systems that can provide real time collection and analysis of all sources of data.  This includes integrating disparate sensor technologies that produce disparate data formats along with other data from an array of partners.  Information technology solutions are needed that can take data that’s coming in fast and turn it into intelligence that augments the ability to improve decision making about water distribution.  These solutions need to connect the folks in the central control room with those working in the field building bridges, dams, dykes to the sensor experts and sophisticated modelers.

  • Technology can monitor, measure and analyze entire water ecosystems, from rivers and reservoirs to the pumps and pipes in our homes.
  • The latest water meters, combined with appropriate Water Management solutions can provide a single, reliable, up-to-the minute and actionable view of water use for a government, a business, or a home.   These ‘smart’ water meters can provide real-time insight into water use, raising awareness, locating inefficiencies and decreasing demand.
  • Advanced sensors can help us collect all sorts of new data on water usage.  For example, sensors on levees can monitor changing flood conditions and respond accordingly.  Sensor based systems can provide the agriculture industry with detailed information on air quality, soil moisture content and temperature to calculate optimal irrigation schedules.
  • Advanced computing, analytics, and simulations can help us all move beyond “real time” to prediction, supporting better-informed policy and management decisions.
  • Technology can also be applied to our oceans to gather data on water temperature, currents, wave strength, salinity and marine life, and applying algorithms that can forecast everything from wave patterns over 24 hours to the right time to harvest mussels.

IBM Water Management Solution Areas

IBM is taking a leadership role among technology vendors in researching, piloting and developing a whole suite of water management solutions.  Taking a look at what IBM is doing can help us see the areas where technology can be applied to solve water management issues

  • Natural Water Resources – Provides sensor data integration, analysis and visualization to enable the measurement, modeling and management of water levels, usage and quality in natural water resources.
  • Water Utilities – Enables water providers to make rapid decisions regarding business processes and operational efficiency to maximize their return on investments as well as foresee and quickly respond to contamination issues and emergencies.
  • Water Infrastructure – Provides sensing systems for managing water infrastructure, such as levee oversight management and flood control.
  • Water Metering – Improves management of water supply and demand by integrating data between the dozens of stakeholders involved. Provides all stakeholders with consistent, real-time information to help them work together to make critical decisions about water supply in a geographic region.
  • Green Sigma for Water™ – is a business consulting service that identifies where water is being used, measures and monitors usage, and creates process improvements to reduce water use. IBM pilots have achieved reductions in water usage of 30%.
  • SmartBay Sensor System – Monitors wave conditions, marine life and pollution levels.  Provide real-time information to stakeholders in the Irish maritime economy, runs on a cloud computing platform, and is able to predict water conditions critical to those stakeholders.

Innovative Water Management Vendors

The Artemis Project held its second annual Artemis Project Top 50 Water Companies Competition during the spring of 2010.   These vendors are all coming up with some very innovative and creative solutions to Water Management issues.  Check out the winners:  A list of the 50 is here.   View a poster show of this year’s winners here.

What Is Needed

More work is needed as we transform the water infrastructure to digital technology:

  • Continue to Build Awareness for Water Issues.  Many in leadership positions are not aware of the critical need for water management information technology solutions.
  • Continue Market Testing & Solutions Platform Development.  Technology vendors need to continue to build assets and test solution platforms.  Stronger linkages are needed across the growing ecosystem.
  • Continue to Build Thought Leadership Deliverables.  Tech vendors need to develop content highlighting case studies, references, demonstrations, and white papers.

For More Information

There is a bunch of more reading material available.  Here some links…

New Transportation Study Says Urban Sprawl Causes Congestion

Driven Apart For years now, The Urban Mobility Report, issued every two years by the Texas Transportation Institute, has been regarded by many transportation and urban planning experts as the ‘bible’ on traffic congestion issues.   The report has been used to justify large road improvement projects throughout the country in an attempt to solve major metropolitan traffic congestion problems.

However, a new report from CEOs for Cities offers a dramatic critique of the 25 year old industry standard created by the Texas Transportation Institute’s Urban Mobility Report (UMR).  The report provides a new look at traffic congestion and suggests there are additional reasons why  Americans spend so much time in traffic.  The report

The new report titled Driven Apart: How sprawl is lengthening our commutes and why misleading mobility measures are making things worse says the solution to the congestion problem has much more to do with how we build our cities than how we build our roads.  The report says that we need new metrics like 'total trip distance’ and ‘total travel time’, metrics that are not currently in the The Urban Mobility Report.

The report ranks how long residents in the nation’s largest 51 metropolitan areas spend in peak hour traffic, and in some cases the rankings are almost the opposite of those listed in the 2009
Urban Mobility Report.  Here’s a list from the report of the 10 cities (out of the 51 studied) where commuters spend the most time getting to work every day. 

Cities Avg. hours per year in traffic
Detroit – Warren – Livonia 179
Indianapolis – Carmel 166
Louisville / Jefferson County 165
Raleigh – Cary 161
Birmingham – Hoover 159
Oklahoma City 154
St. Louis 153
Memphis 152
Richmond 147
Kansas City 142

The report says that compact cities are the real answer to reducing traffic delays.  The key is to have land use patterns and transportation systems that enable their residents to take
shorter trips and minimize the burden of peak hour travel.   These conclusions are very different than those of the UMR, which has long been used to measure traffic congestion and has been used to justify road improvement projects costing millions of dollars.

It’s nice to have a fresh look at the traffic congestion issue.  Thanks CEO for Cities!

For more information, you can access the report (exec summary AND the detailed report) and supporting press release, graphics, etc. by heading over to http://www.ceosforcities.org/work/driven-apart

Intelligent Transportation Scenario: Advanced Traveler Information Systems

LONDN023 I’m wondering when in the future will we arrive at a place where there will be open standards for traffic information that will allow us to have Advanced Traveler Information Systems.  

Traffic information is certainly needed by everyone.  That means we need to have it available on all sorts of devices using all sorts of applications.   So why not open standards so the information can be available and used to help us all get from point A to point B in less time and with less frustration/hassle?

I see a future where Advanced Traveler Information Systems are capable of advising travelers of suggested travel route changes due to traffic congestion changes…all in real time.  An integrated system would need to be able to draw real-time information from any type of transportation in the region, then process that information against the traveler’s requests/needs,  then provide that information back to the traveler in the format needed for the traveler’s device and application.

Here is a scenario….

Monday evening

1. Jack receives an email from his global head of marketing that an important client will be visiting London to discuss a new deal. Jack is to host dinner for the global client on Friday evening at Nobu in London.

2. Jack books a table over the Internet for 1900 on Friday and puts the details into his Lotus Calendar.

Friday

10:00 – The day has not started well: Jack is in back-to-back meetings the entire day with some client issues.

17:30 – Jack’s online calendar reminds him of the dinner and alerts him of his travel options based on reaching the restaurant by 1900:

  1. Taxi: due to ongoing road works on the route, there is a bad traffic jam along the route – he would need to leave the office by 1800. The estimated cost was £25.
  2. Bus: as there were bus lanes throughout the route, the road works would not impact the journey too significantly – he would need to leave the office by 1810. The cost would be £2.
  3. Tube & walking: the Piccadilly line was currently on schedule; he would need to start walking to the Tube by 1815. The cost would be £3.

The application on Jack’s smartphone recommends that Jack go with option 4:  Tube and walking.

18:20  -  On Jack’s walk to the Tube, his smartphone alerts him of a security incident on the Bakerloo Tube line. If he were to continue with the planned route, he would arrive at the restaurant only at 1945. It advises him to change his route by walking to the nearest bus stop. The bus route would get him to the restaurant at 1910.

19:10 – Jack arrives at the restaurant slightly late but thankfully his guest has not yet arrived – the guest took a taxi and was caught in a traffic jam!

The successful outcome in the scenario above is dependent on open transportation information standards and Advanced Traveler Information Systems, including

  • An extensive sensor-based transportation system operating in the region where real-time information is collected on every type of transportation available to the traveler
  • An back office analytics-rich system capable of analyzing the millions of transactions coming into the system for each mode of transportation
  • Applications available on personal mobile handheld devices capable of interacting with the regional Advanced Traveler Information System.  The mobile application needs to be able to become an agent for the person, acting on stored personal preferences, the calendar for the day, and the real-time information available from the regional system.

Friday Gadget: Robonaut 2

Robonaut 2 (R2), a robot developed by General Motors and NASA, is scheduled to hitch a ride to the Space Station via the shuttle Discovery this September. 

The robot not only looks like a human but also is designed to work like one.  With human-like hands and arms, R2 is able to use the same tools station crew members use.

For the mission in September, engineers plan to monitor him closely to see how he operates in weightlessness.  Plans eventually call for R2 to perform tasks that would normally require astronauts to take spacewalks.  The hope is that at some point in the future robots will be able to perform spacewalks and other tasks too difficult or dangerous for humans.  For now, R2 is still a prototype and does not have adequate protection needed to exist outside the space station in the extreme temperatures of space.

For more, check out the page on Robonaut at http://robonaut.jsc.nasa.gov/