Pour Reception turns water into radio controls

Using a capacitive sensing arrangement, artists Tore Knudsen, Simone Okholm Hansen, and Victor Permild have come up with a way to interact with music with two glasses of water.

One pours water into a glass to turn the radio on. Channels can then be changed by transferring water from one glass into the other, and fine-tuned by touching the outside of container. Volume can even be adjusted by poking a finger into the water itself.

An Arduino Leonardo is used to pick up capacitive signals, and data is then sent a computer where a program called Wekinator decodes user interactions.

Pour Reception is a playful radio that strives to challenge our cultural understanding of what an interface is and can be. By using capacitive sensing and machine learning, two glasses of water are turned into a digital material for the user to explore and appropriate.

The design materials that we have available when designing digital artifacts expands along with the technological development, and with the computational machinery it is possible to augment our physical world in ways that challenges our perceptions of the objects we interact with. In this project, we aim to change the users perception of what a glass is – both cultural and technical.

You can see it in action below, and read more about the project in its write-up here.

Arduino Blog

Smart Meter LPWA Radio Chip Ushers In A New Era Of Wireless IoT

Smart Meter LPWA Radio Chip Ushers In A New Era Of Wireless IoT

Ushering in a new era of wireless IoT communications, Rohm has developed a low-power wide-area (LPWA) dual-mode radio chip that supports both the SigFox and IEEE802.15.4k standards, allowing its use in a wide range of applications. Helping customers develop secure IoT solutions, SecureRF is offering its authentication and data protection products for low-resource and embedded ST processors and solutions. And for future 5G applications, Imec has presented two key IP building blocks featuring record low power consumption.

Smart Meter Wide-area Radio Chip For IoT Supports Dual-mode

A new RF LPWA (Low Power Wide Area) chip from ROHM supports both Sigfox and IEEE802.15.4k standards and claims to expand transmission range by more than 10 times for IoT equipment. This dual-mode capability of the ML7404 enables its use in a wide range of applications. Read more.


Bringing Security to the Smallest Devices in the IoT

SecureRF Corporation has joined the STMicroelectronics Partner Program to enable customers developing IoT solutions to take advantage of ST products embedded with SecureRF’s authentication and data protection solutions. These security solutions are ideally suited to extend the useful working life of 32-, 16-, and 8-bit processors and other small IoT devices. Read more.


New Low-power ADC and RF Front-end For 5G  

Imec has developed novel IP building blocks which are low-cost and power-efficient to realize next-generation SoC for 5G wireless communications. These include a SAR ADC operating in the below-6GHz frequency bands (4G/5G) and a compact, energy efficient and low-cost radio front-end (TRX) that operates at 60GHz. Aimed at smartphone applications, the ADC is compact, low-cost, low-power and high-speed (300Ms/s) suiting it for multimode multiband 5G communication. Read more.


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Disney Research showcases how ambient radio waves could power IoT devices

Disney Research’s Wireless Systems group demonstrates IoT technology powered by radio waves.

Radio waves are used by many IoT devices to connect to the wider internet and send back data, but this process often uses a lot of energy. Researchers at Disney Research, the R&D arm of The Walt Disney Company, have come up with a way for devices to use ambient radio waves to send data.

Alanson Sample, associate lab director and leader of Disney Research’s Wireless Systems group, has devised an ultra-low-power system of sensors that transmit data to a central receiver by reflecting the ambient radio waves from commercial broadcasting systems that already bathe most office environments.

“Our idea is to reuse all the radio signals that are around us as a medium for transmitting data, much like sending ripples across a pond,” Sample said.

Read more: Purdue researcher develops technology powered by body heat

Power requirements

This substantially lowers the power requirements of sensor nodes, because it is the generation of radio waves that consumes most of their battery power. The researchers revealed that they could meet the tiny bit of power demand that remained by using solar cells optimised for low-light conditions.

They demonstrated their ultra-wideband (UWB) ambient backscatter system in an indoor office environment, using ambient signals from 14 radio towers, as well as two mobile phones.

Backscatter communication is already used in passive RFID tags. In that case, a RFID reader transmits radio frequency power to the battery-free RFID tag; the tag sends data to the reader by reflecting, or backscattering, the carrier wave back to the reader. These systems have limited range, however, which makes them impractical for some IoT systems.

Other researchers have shown systems that require even less power by using ambient radio waves from a single source, such as a TV station. But, again, the range is limited to a few meters unless the power of the ambient signals is boosted to high levels.

Read more: Greentomatocars joins IoT network mapping air pollution in London

Ultra-wideband backscatter

Sample said that using ultra-wideband, which backscatters all ambient sources, has some advantages. Using multiple backscatter channels boosts the signal-to-noise ratio, substantially improving the sensitivity of the backscatter reader and decreasing dead zones.

He added that this enables the system to operate on real-world ambient sources and substantially extends the range – up to 22 metres when using ambient signals from broadcast towers, and 50 metres when using ambient signals generated by mobile phone uplink traffic.

He added that the nodes are simple and require the backscatter reader to do the heavy lifting for the system. The reader must receive the backscatter signals, decode and combine multiple backscatter carriers to recover the data from each sensor. The reader uses four software-defined radio receivers – one for the FM radio band, another to cover most of the cellular uplink and downlink bands, and two for digital TV bands.

The hardware doesn’t need to be tuned to any frequency band and thus such devices can be used in almost any metropolitan area. Unlike other experimental systems that leverage ambient radio waves, the Disney system doesn’t focus on a single-signal source, but uses all available ambient radio sources, from FM radio broadcasts to digital TV signals to transmissions to and from cellular phones.

More information on the research, conducted by a team at Disney Research’s Pittsburgh lab, can be found here.

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First Industrial IoT Programmable Radio (IPR) Enables World of Connected Possibilities

First Industrial IoT Programmable Radio (IPR) Enables World of Connected Possibilities

FreeWave’s IPR makes Fog Computing, M2M and the Intelligent IIoT a reality for process control and industrial automation.

FreeWave Technologies, Inc. today announced the industry’s first IIoT Programmable Radio (IPR), which supports third party software applications for Edge and Fog Computing in IIoT communication networks.

FreeWave’s IPR can support JAVA, Python, C, and C+ and connects to any IP device or sensor. The platform can host third party and proprietary IIoT applications for energy, utility, municipal, smart city, government, military use cases and more.

“Our IIoT Programmable Radio is a key component in driving high-speed data transmission and connectivity from the Edge to the end-user – it serves as the ‘2’ in Sensor-2-Server,” said Scott Allen, CMO at FreeWave Technologies.

“Industrial organizations are beginning to realize the power of moving beyond Big Data into Smart Data, and enabling the deployment of IoT apps specifically designed to put intelligence at the Edge is a transformational tool for the industry.”

The rise of Fog Computing as a driver of intelligent analytics created a need for industrial companies to transport more data faster from Edge sensors. Rather than transport massive packets of data – Big Data –a programmable platform deployed at the edge of IP networks enables sensor control functionality and allows them to send smaller packets of data as determined by the IIoT app. This results in Smart Data that streamlines decision making, provides predictive analytics for maintenance and support, and allows organizations to automate processes that previously required ongoing, manual attention.

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