Writing for The Verge, Jacob Kastrenakes reports that the White House has allocated $160 million to create smart cities.
“[These] cities are wired up with sensors that can relay data back to local organizations, companies and governments so that they can identify issues and more quickly respond to changes,” he explained.
“The initiative is pretty broad and consists of research grants and spending from numerous federal organizations, but the general goal is to address issues like traffic congestion, crime and climate change, while improving a city services and economies.”
According to Kastrenakes, the White House mentioned the Internet of Things (IoT) a number of times in its official announcement.
“The reason being that it’s getting much easier to put low-cost sensors pretty much anywhere, and in the near future, it should be even simpler to get them wired up and talking together — or, at least, that’s the dream,” he continued. “The Internet of Things has some very obvious uses in monitoring the world — we’re already starting to see basic instances like using car sensors to detect potholes — and the US not only sees those possibilities but is looking to embrace them.”
Indeed, as frog’s Carlos Elena-Lenz noted during the recent Rambus Partners in Open Development (POD) Summit in San Francisco, sensing technology is becoming more important as vehicles of all stripes realize different levels of autonomy, from self-parking to self- driving. More specifically, says Elena-Lenz, Rambus lensless smart sensors (LSS) could potentially help facilitate collision avoidance, navigation and even aerial imaging.
“Collision avoidance is applicable across many vehicle sizes from toys, drones, cars and trucks,” he explained. “Smaller vehicles gain the ability to detect and navigate – while larger vehicles utilizing LIDAR for long-range mapping can still use LSS for close quarters navigation around people or physical objects.”
The frog team also believes LSS-powered smart streetlamps can play a potential role in the evolution of intelligent roadways by tracking traffic flow, monitoring congestion, vehicle speeds and alerting authorities to motorists in need of roadside assistance.
“Connecting city roads at scale is a massive undertaking, especially when doing it retroactively. LSS’s low cost, small footprint, and low power consumption make it an ideal candidate,” Elena-Lenz opined. “LSS provides optical flow, image change detection and near IR all in a small package; capabilities ideally suited for the large scale sensing of transportation infrastructure.”
As we’ve previously discussed on Rambus Press, LSS is roughly analogous to the way a human, animal or insect brain perceives the world: the real-time interpretation of a scene or object facilitated by inherent pattern recognition capabilities. Simply put, data leaving a human retina looks nothing like a map of light intensity, although it contains all the information required to interpret an image. Similarly, LSS allows sensors to capture information rich images using a low-cost phase grating. Although the raw ‘snap’ is indecipherable to the naked human eye, the sensor captures all of the information in the visual world up to a certain resolution.