The Social Graph + The Internet of Things

As I get ready for the Pittsburgh Maker Faire, I have been thinking about the intersection of social and objects, and just how I fit into the middle of things. As time goes on we are leaving little trails of data on social networks. Our things are becoming connected and aware of their location and environment and reporting that data to the cloud. This data will get more interesting over time. These thoughts have been lingering for quite a while as for some reason I connected my toaster to Twitter and built interactive lights that link together over social networks. My latest inspiration comes from the Social Graph and the Graph API released by Facebook.

social graph and interent_of_things

What I have created is a socially aware Elmo toy. Instead of tickling Elmo, you Twitter him or Like his Facebook page to get him going. Interestingly enough, Elmo has over 3.6 million likes on Facebook. And, he gets a few likes every minute (trust me I have been tracking him for weeks). The experiment that we are running is what will happen at the Maker Faire. We have written a RealTime.io plugin for ioBridge that is tuned into things, location, and the social graph using Facebook’s API. We are excited to see what will happen at the Maker Faire when makers from all over Pittsburgh come together with their location-aware devices and Facebook accounts. Visitors to the ioBridge demo area will be able to Like Elmo via a QR code. If the graph of you, us, Elmo, the location, and/or your friends all line up, Elmo will get activated in real-time. Elmo has an infectious laugh and we’ve got hear him start singing quite a few times this week.

As our things generate more data, we hope to keep pushing the limits and find meaning. Connections are forming and how we find about what are things know, “who is at the house,” and “if my basement is flooded” will be told to us like other info that we find out about our friends on the Twitter stream or the Facebook news feed or our Google Circles. In fact our friends on our graph may find out before we do.

Successful Internet of Things DCWEEK Workshop

First I’d like to give a thank you to all the attendees of ioBridge’s DCWEEK Internet of Things Workshop.  It was a great turnout even though it was one of the last events of a long week.

We accomplished all of our goals:

  1. Explain to people what the “Internet of Things” is
  2. Have everyone realize where it is in their everyday lives
  3. Understand just how BIG it is going to be
  4. Get people to experiment first hand with IoT
  5. Get involved with the Washington, DC tech scene and contribute to DCWEEK 2011
  6. Get people giddy like school children when they are controlling their own “Things” on the Internet!

All the attendees were very involved in the presentation.  It was great to see the wheels start to turn as they learned about basic digital and analog inputs/outputs.  Once they understood those concepts they started to see how seemingly complex devices like a touch screen could be broken down in to it’s basic inputs and outputs.

The hands on part of the workshop was very rewarding and we thought everyone had a lot of fun.  We brought ioBridge Dev Kits that include IO-204 and multiple buzzers, temperature sensors, buttons, servo motors and LCD screens for the attendees to play with.  Four separate groups got to go through the module setup process and begin interacting with their items through the Internet.  Once they got that down, it started to get a little creative.

One group used a combination of the temperature sensor and the buzzer to have a buzzer go off when a certain temperature was reached.  They monitored all the inputs and outputs right from the Internet.  Another group took it a step further and had their IO-204 tweet once a certain temperature was reached.  Once they got that down, they used a simple button to trigger a tweet.  Sort of like a motion detector tweeting when someone came into a room.

Here are some of the photos of everyone in action:


Internet of Things on Big Bang Theory

I was watching a rerun of the Big Bang Theory TV show (my wife and I are big fans) last week and there was a pretty funny clip with the guys experimenting with the Internet of Things.   It was in the beginning clip just before the credits in the episode called “The Cooper-Hofstadter Polarization” that originally aired on March 17, 2008.

This made me think back at how far ioBridge has come and where they were at that time.  The funny thing about it is the technology they are simulating could have just as well be using an ioBridge module.  Public access for internet users to control things in their house was something only super geeks could do at that time.  At the time this episode aired ioBridge only had a working prototype of public internet interactivity with Jason’s original fishcam that open and closed a gator’s mouth in his fish tank.

Obviously ioBridge has come a long way since that prototype, but it’s interesting to see how the ideas have been bouncing around for years but only now is it starting to get the attention where the number of Internet of Things devices now and in the future are in frequent conversations.

For your viewing pleasure I was able to find it on my search through YouTube and wanted to share it with all the Internet of Things fans out there.

Internet of Things to have 24 Billion Devices by 2020 (I’ve got 20 right now)

Today I was reading Internet of things will have 24 billion devices by 2020 — Cloud Computing News.   It is tough for me to even fathom 24 million internet connected things running around, but 24 million isn’t cool.  You know what’s cool? 24 billion.

At first thought, I thought 24 billion devices by 2020 was a stretch.  Then I realize how many internet devices I already have.  It is probably just me, but the first thing that comes to mind when I think IoT (Internet of Things) are things like home appliances.  Refrigerators, HVAC systems, and power meters… all things I think of as “things”.  IoT is much broader than that.  Stop and think for a minute of how many internet connected things/devices you have.

Here’s mine:

  1. Playstation 3
  2. Wii
  3. Skype Handset
  4. Wireless Verizon router
  5. Verizon DVR
  6. Android Phone
  7. Wife’s Phone
  8. iPad
  9. nano router
  10. laptop #1
  11. laptop #2
  12. laptop #3
  13. laptop #4
  14. desktop
  15. vm server
  16. ioBridge IO-204
  17. Kindle
  18. Nintendo DS
  19. Printer
  20. My old HTC WinMo phone
A few months ago I also heard of numbers like 50 billion from Cisco.  Even earlier than that over a year ago IMS Research was talking about 22 billion.  Who knows what the actual number will be, but it’s going to be Big with a capital B (you know… like in a billion)

Learn to “Script Things” during Perl Workshop at Carnegie Mellon University

The 5th Annual Pittsburgh Perl Workshop (PPW) will be held October 8-9, 2011 at Carnegie Mellon University. PPW will feature great coffee, workshops, and talks all relating to the Perl programming language created by Larry Wall in 1997. ioBridge is one of the community supporters and sponsors of the Pittsburgh Perl Workshop and Perl Foundation.

Pittsburgh Perl Workshop Sponsored by ioBridge

Perl + CGI changed the Internet back in the mid-90’s. This combo was the catalyst for the creation of dynamic web applications and paved the way for the “Web 2.0″. The next big movement is the Internet of Things. This is where web applications mash-up with sensors, devices, appliances, power meters, mobile phone, and social networking to form new applications. Perl sits in a great spot to “Script Things”. Perl is a high-level language that has the ability to interface with any API, server, back-end, and new things that come its way. This is often why Perl gets called the “Duct tape of the Internet”. Last year, Hans Scharler, of ioBridge, created a thermostat that regulates itself based on his location on Google Latitude. The scripting was all done in Perl and interfaced with ioBridge’s API to control the thermostat. A lot of new applications are possible.

Hans will return to PPW and hold a new session called Scripting Things. The idea behind this session is to start with the basics. You will learn about Digital I/O, Analog Values, Serial Data, and Web APIs. All of these topics are things that we take for granted and assume that everyone knows about. You will also learn how to pull everything together with Perl and scripting languages. The target audience is anyone looking to learn how to get started with the Internet of Things and create mashups with real-life things with virtual things.

Injunction with PPW, ioBridge will also be hosting an all day long Hardware Workshop at CMU on October 8, so you can apply your new knowledge right-away. The only thing you need to bring is your imagination. Everything else will be provided — sensors, hardware, Arduino boards, ioBridge modules, buttons, and LEDs. The location is on the 6th Floor of the Gates Hillman Complex right on the Carnegie Mellon Campus and is open to everyone. We look forward to seeing what you will create and/or inspire for the future of the Web of Things.

The Pittsburgh Perl Workshop
October 8–9, 2010

Carnegie Mellon University
Gates Hillman Complex
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213