The New York Times has a discussion of the “Internet of Things,” which is a computerized network of physical objects. Sensors and data storage devices embedded in objects interact with Web services in the IOT. One example: An IOT networked refrigerator could notify an owner when food spoils, when there are manufacturer recalls or when there are sales of food. (For more on privacy and the IOT, see a Center for Democracy and Technology report that I consulted on and contributed to, “Building the Digital Out-Of-Home Privacy Infrastructure.”)
ARM Holdings, the British chip designer, has created a program meant to spur those creations by unleashing people’s imaginations. (I wrote a profile of ARM in Monday’s paper, detailing its likely prominent role in the Internet of Things.)
Called mbed, the research effort puts a kit for a microcontroller – sort of a basic, low-power computer on a chip – in the hands of engineers and hobbyists for about $59. Then, ARM provides a set of software tools for bringing that microcontroller to life and linking it with other interesting items like accelerometers, gyroscopes, cameras, displays and thermometers. […]
Thousands of people have jumped on the mbed bandwagon, with many of them posting details of their exploits on the project’s Web site. A bar owner in Las Vegas, for example, used the technology to install flow meters in his beer taps to track how many gallons pour out each day.