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Synthetic Sensor Chips for IoT

Despite IoT currently being in the phase of rapid development and growth, there are still gaps and areas that require improvement. Identifying and working on these has been the focus of many researchers who believe IoT could be transformed and bettered.

A group of scientists from Carnegie Mellon University suggest this could be done by using synthetic sensors in the form of chips.

As described in a report by three top researchers from the University’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute developer team, these chips would be general purpose sensors that universally sense a range of inputs from existing appliances. The collected data could then be transformed into the required format and shared between other installed chips, enabling them to communicate with each other directly instead of a central controller, such as an intelligent personal assistant.

Called “general purpose sensing”, the team believes it could not only positively affect the speed of communication, but make it simpler across all IoT devices. As mentioned, the data would have to be transformed into the required format, which the researchers propose should be standardised: the collection, recording and sharing processes would all be done similarly, on same-format chips. Think universal phone chargers – the ideal adaptation would be the same.

The team consisting of Gierad Laput, Yang Zhang and Chris Harrison say that the “traditional approaches rely on direct or distributed sensing, most often by measuring one particular aspect of an environment with special-purpose sensors.” To combat this “instrumentation of objects”, their sensors can adjust to nearly any device; the prototype has 19 different sensor channels, including those for sound, vibration, motion, colour, light intensity, and humidity. One of the researchers has said the sensors are like “a little artificial intelligence” because they can predict data based on information previously given.

The creators of the sensors are confident that their discovery could revolutionise IoT, and Dashboard agrees. Whilst wary that the product is only in its development stage and is yet to be launched, standardisation of IoT is certainly a future we can see for this technology. We happily welcome such innovation.

The full report by Carnegie Mellon University can be viewed here