The Array of Things, The Internet of Things, ultimately, “smart” cities have to feature hundreds, maybe thousands, of strategically placed sensors. These devices would record everything from air pressure and temperature to microbial content. The newly developed Waggle platform is the system on a chip that will enable this to happen.
As urban populations increase, so too does the complexity involved in maintaining basic services like clean water and emergency services. But one of the biggest barriers to making cities “smarter” — for example, comprehensively monitoring sources of waterway pollutants in real time — is quick and easy access to data.
Future scenarios like these depend on technology not yet widely available. Future “smart” cities would have to feature hundreds, maybe thousands, of strategically placed sensors. These devices would record everything from air pressure and temperature to microbial content, and the data would be relayed instantly to the laptops of people who can make decisions based on what they are seeing.
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory are laying the groundwork for that future now. Their newly developed Waggle platform outfits researchers with a next-generation data collection experience. Featuring the same type of circuit board and real-time processing speeds inside your smartphone, “Wagglers” can add their own mix of sensors, specific to what they’re researching, and install programs onto a single low-power “system on a chip” (SoC) computer board, complete with a Linux-based operating system to control them.
“Waggle can gather the data, send it up to the cloud and get a really fantastic picture of whatever physical processes the researcher wants, whether it’s city or climate data or even hyperspectral data from plants,” said Argonne senior computer scientist and project leader Pete Beckman. “This is the equivalent of a microscope looking at a cell, except we’re using sensors, turning them towards the environment and getting the most comprehensive picture yet of what is actually happening.”
Waggle began as a small project characterizing heat and temperature fluctuations inside a supercomputer’s machine room. Simple devices lined the computer racks, recording and transmitting data from air flow and temperature. Soon, though, researchers realized that what they really needed was a computing platform for sensors to process the data they were receiving.
Once a sensor is placed in its environment, “the data just sits there isolated,” said Argonne materials scientist and 1851 Royal Commission Design Fellow, Jacqueline Cole.” And if anything goes wrong during this period of testing, then you’ve got nothing to come back to. With Waggle, you can monitor the project website, and if something looks kind of screwy you can go in and correct it.”
Another Waggle feature is in-situ processing.
“Waggle includes advanced management features that constantly monitor power use and can be programmed to respond to specific conditions like temperature and light intensity or a data signature from a camera or other sensor,” said Argonne assistant computer scientist Rajesh Sankaran. “Very few people are experts in embedded computer systems, so we’ve provided a framework for writing Waggle code that can run in-situ and have taken the guesswork out of the data-collection process, providing researchers with a way to automatically plug, play and retrieve safe and secure data from the cloud.”
Environmental scientists have begun to take notice and plan to use the Waggle platform to collect their data for future projects.
The Latest on: Smart cities
via Google News
The Latest on: Smart cities
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