Smart Environments

Whether it’s in a house, an office, a car, or a shopping area, we are re-designing the environments we live in to become more intelligent. We already have smart meters for electricity and soon will have other smart meters for other utilities. We have smart thermostats, smart phones, smart TVs and an entire range of appliances are becoming more smart all the time. Now we also hear about smart light bulbs, smart plugs, smart carpet and more.

This progression of smart environments is one small facet of a general trend in overall knowledge management and knowledge engineering. We engineer smartness into our environment so that we can interact with it and control it with less effort and a finer granularity. It’s no longer a stretch to imagine a smart home where every part and component that makes up the house has the ability to collect information and interact with both the humans in the home and other parts of the home.

Wi-Fi LED Light Bulbs: Gateway to the Smart Home? – [technologyreview.com]

In the future, we’re told, homes will be filled with smart gadgets connected to the Internet, giving us remote control of our homes and making the grid smarter. Wireless thermostats and now lighting appear to be leading the way.

Startup Greenwave Reality today announced that its wireless LED lighting kit is available in the U.S., although not through retail sales channels. The company, headed by former consumer electronics executives, plans to sell the set, which includes four 40-watt-equivalent bulbs and a smartphone application, through utilities and lighting companies for about $200, according to CEO Greg Memo.

Monitor your energy use with ‘simple’ smart plugs – [phys.org]

Glancing at one’s daily consumption of energy would lead to usage that is more reasonable and less greedy. Such a challenge gave birth to eSMART. This EPFL spin-off is in the process of installing its system of smart plugs in 450 apartments in the Eikenøtt neighborhood, developed by Losinger-Marazzi in Gland. Interconnected plugs transmit their data to software that displays real-time expenditures of water, heat, and electricity on a touch screen. An indicator turns red when consumption is abnormally high. The display responds as soon as a unit is turned off.

“Magic carpet” can detect and possibly predict falls – [gizmag.com]

Researchers in the U.K. have developed a “magic carpet,” but not of the mythical flying variety. The new device consists of a carpet underlay embedded with plastic optical fibers and electronic sensors that can detect and map a person’s walking patterns. With all of us progressing inexorably towards the age when the consequences of a fall can become much more serious than an embarrassing inconvenience, the researchers say the smart carpet is aimed at cutting the roughly 50 percent of hospital admissions in the over 65 age group in the U.K. that are the result of falls.

Smart Sutures That Detect Infections – [technologyreview.com]

Surgical sutures are mindless threads no more. Researchers have now coated them with sensors that could monitor wounds and speed up healing.

The electronic sutures, which contain ultrathin silicon sensors integrated on polymer or silk strips, can be threaded through needles, and in animal tests researchers were able to lace them through skin, pull them tight, and knot them without degrading the devices.

The sutures can precisely measure temperature—elevated temperatures indicate infection—and deliver heat to a wound site, which is known to aid healing.

SEE ALSO:
Smart Meter Issues
Smart Colloids
Wearing Our Electronics
Roombot Furniture
Smart Dust
Active Living Spaces

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