Friday, September 09, 2011

Smart Things

I want to design Smart Things.

Smart Things are small devices that do specific things to augment our own intelligence and abilities.

A Smart Thing communicates with the outside world (and other external Smart Things) via protocols like NFC, Bluetooth or  TCP/IP.

Co-located Smart Things may use SPI, I2C, UART or even bit banging GPIO.

A Smart Thing is never too smart, although it should require very little human intervention.  It should be just smart enough to justify its own existence (as a gadget or parasitic module).

A Smart Thing is usually energy efficient. It should run off of a battery or a host's power.

Some examples of a Smart Things:


  • A UV monitor that samples sunlight, calculates UV Index and can be queried through by an NFC Reader (like the Google Nexus S phone).
  • A motion detector that sends alerts through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
  • A light detector that keeps a log of when a room light has been turned on and for how long. It too could be queried through NFC.
  • Sensor modules for gardens. The Smart Things could measure soil moisture  and temperature.  They could pass the information on through Ant or Zigbee to another Smart Thing that collects and correlates the data (for collection via smart phone).
A Smart Thing should not be too expensive: The more, the merrier.

A Smart Thing should last for at least 10 years (with at most 1 battery change per year) -- it should be embedded and "forgotten".

A really small Smart Thing could be built around a low power 8051 running MyForth or maybe an MSP430 running uForth/fil.  The point here being: You don't care what the platform is.  It just needs to work... and be smart.

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