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Mobile Devices and a Sensor Revolution

Have you heard about the emerging Internet of Things? I have been meaning to write about this for a while now but was unable to find time.  This term refers to the new and expanded Internet by real-world objects that are connected to the Internet and feeds the massive amount of new data to the Web through its sensors  such as a smartphone equipped with a camera, mic, a touchscreen.

The New York Times article, “The Coming Data Explosion” that ran on May 31 reports the coming data explosion that will result from the Internet of Things. The article also talks about “a sensor revolution”  quoting Marissa Mayer: “today’s phones are almost like people,” in that they have senses such as eyes (a camera), ears (a microphone) and skin (a touch screen).”  The result of ubiquitous smartphone use is that more and more data will be uploaded and made available to the web. Remember all the photos you take with your cellphone and upload to  TwitPic, pictures you draw with your fingers and post to Flickr, and video recordings  you make and upload to Facebook?  If you thought that was cool, now wait until you see a nanosensor that can sense all of these below.

* Vibration
* Tilt
* Rotation
* Navigation
* Sound
* Air flow
* Light
* Temperature
* Biological
* Chemical
* Humidity
* Pressure
* Location

With this kind of a nanosensor, your cellphone is also a thermostat, GPS, air flow detector, molecule reader, etc.  Can you imaging what kinds of applications will come out taking advantage of this type of nanosensors that detect multiple senses?  I have previously posted on this blog about a cool medical iPhone/iTouch app called Pocket CPR that gives you immediate sensory feedback to a CPR procedure you perform holding your mobile device. If I am pressing a patient’s heart not fast enough, it will tell me to go faster; if I am not pressing hard enough, it will tell me to do so. Even though this app is pretty rudimentary utilizing only the simple movements of up-and-down and the speed of a device, there is something marvelous about it. I think that is because the way the device is used in this case offers us experience that is entirely new to us.

The sensor revolution has the potential of transforming a mobile device into a de facto default device for our day-to-day interaction with the web.

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