At I/O, Google Will Be Tracking Things Like Noise Level And Air Quality With Hundreds Of Arduino- Based Sensors

Posted: May 14, 2013 in Gadgets, Google, GT
Tags: , , , , ,

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If you’re attending Google I/O this week, you will be a
part of an experiment from the Google Cloud Platform
Developer Relations team. On its blog today, the
team outlined its plan to gather a bunch of
environmental information happening around you as
you meander around the Moscone Center. In the blog post, Michael Manoochehri, Developer
Programs Engineer, outlines his team’s plan to place
hundreds of Arduino-based environmental sensors
around the conference space to track things like
temperature, noise levels, humidity and air quality in
real-time. This was spawned due to a fascination with wanting to know which areas of the conference were
the most popular, so it will be interesting to see what
the information the team gathers actually tells us. At first glance, this seems a little bit creepy, but it’s
no different than a venue adjusting the cooling
system based on the temperature inside at any given
moment. As with anything that Google does, this
could have implications for tracking indoor events or
businesses in the future, as Manoochehri shared: Networked sensor technology is in the early stages of
revolutionizing business logistics, city planning, and
consumer products. We are looking forward to sharing
the Data Sensing Lab with Google I/O attendees,
because we want to show how using open hardware
together with the Google Cloud Platform can make this technology accessible to anyone. Notice the wrap-up of wanting to show people how
open hardware combined with Google’s Cloud
Platform benefits everyone. Ok, sure. What could
data like this mean for businesses, though? Well, a
clothing store would be able to track how many
people came in and browsed, which areas of the store were hot-spots for interest and then figure out how
their displays converted. It’s like real-world ad-
tracking. It makes sense, but still seems a long way
off. What will be interesting is not each dataset that is
collected, but what all of them tied together tell us
about our surroundings: Our motes will be able to detect fluctuations in noise
level, and some will be attached to footstep counters,
to understand collective movement around the
conference floor. Of course, none of this information is personally
identifiable, but the thought of our collective steps,
movements and other ambient output being turned
into something usable by Google is intriguing to say
the least…and yes, kind of creepy. If this particular team can share all of the data it
collects in an easy to digest way, then businesses
will be clamoring to toss sensors all over their stores
and drop the data on whatever cloud platform that will
host it the cheapest. Google would like to be that
platform. During the event, the team will hold a workshop on
what it calls the “Data Sensing Lab,” so if you’re
interested on learning more about what the team is
gathering as you walk around, this would be the place
to go. You’ll also be able to see some of the real-time
visualizations on screens set up throughout the conference floor. We’ll be covering all of the action as we’re being
covered by Google.

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