Rambus, along with partners MLove and IXDS, hosted 4YFN’s “Eyes of the IoT” MWC 2015 workshop this afternoon in Barcelona, Spain.
Participants discussed how smart vision, facilitated by technology such as Rambus’ lensless smart sensors (LSS), could potentially impact the future of smart cities, medical equipment, transportation and manufacturing.
In terms of smart cities, Harald Neidhardt of MLove told a packed workshop audience that LSS tech could potentially facilitate a range of safety features in future smart cities.
“Lensless smart sensors [which are approximately the size of a human hair], are small enough to be painted on city walls and street signs to supplement existing safety requirements and help make true intelligent lighting a reality. We call this concept ‘City Glaze,” Neidhardt explained.
“These sensors, which consume very little power, can also be placed in locations that are difficult for humans to view or access such as gas pipes, sewage lines or air conditioning vents. They will be capable of relaying detailed info to technicians and operators in real time.”
On the smart medical front, Ben Bickford of Bionic sees LSS sensors helping to bring back the humanity to the evolving space.
“We believe the Internet of Things (IoT) should really serve humans and not the other way around,” he said.
Specific LSS-powered examples cited by Bickford include intelligent drones and self-aware life sensors.
“Drones are fairly ubiquitous today. However, they are not really autonomous and lack advanced sensing capabilities. LSS can help change all that,” Bickford opined.
“We envision fleets of mini drones equipped with thermal lensless smart sensors that are tasked with helping rescuers locate a child lost in a dense forest. Hundreds of intelligent drones packed with collision avoidance capabilities and working in unison can undoubtedly cover more ground than humans.”
In regards to self-aware life sensors, Bickford’s team proposed embedding LSS-enabled health monitoring technology in everyday items such as pills, mirrors and mattresses.
Lars Stalling of Telefonica/Canoe Lab – who headed the smart transport group – suggested LSS technology could be used to help pedestrians navigate crowded cities like Barcelona and New York by introducing a wearable third eye.
“If you really think about it, people today, even with all their gadgets, are basically walking blind,” he said.
“Most could definitely use an extra LSS-powered eye capable of accurately informing pedestrians when they should embark or disembark on a subway platform or specific bus stop.”
Meanwhile, Elin Elkehag of Wearable World suggested embedding LSS technology in various transport related items such as motorcycle helmets and others wearables.
“There are quite a number of products that can be retrofitted with the lensless smart sensors,” she added.
Last, but certainly not least, Reto Wettach of IXDS said he believes LSS technology can help redefine the traditional definition of smart manufacturing to include an interactive experience for the end user.
“We’re talking about products capable of recognizing their owner and shaping themselves to suit a specific user’s needs. Essentially, LSS has the potential to make any product smart,” Wettach confirmed.
“We’re thinking about enabling ultra-smart appliances such as a refrigerator that is capable of sensing what groceries need to be ordered and what food items are close to their expiration date. LSS is inexpensive, low-powered and small enough to make it the right technology to bring intelligent appliances to the next level.”
Laura Stark, the general manager of Rambus’ Emerging Solutions Division, concluded the 4YFN’s “Eyes of the IoT” workshop by noting that the session was part of the company’s strategy to engage more openly with the community and form strong partnerships with thought leaders in universities and corporations.
“Collaboration will enable us to better understand how Rambus LSS technology can be used to change the world,” she added.