In a near future, a variety of wireless sensor networks will be part of our environment: at home, in the workspace, and everywhere we go. Objects may embed a tiny computer with sensors: how will this make a difference to people? How will people access and discover services?
Think about your mobile phone as if it were a magnifier you can use to explore the world around you; when you pass on an object with a sensor embedded, you may activate a hyperlink from this object leading to information and services, a sort of an “amplified reality” where things and related information are integrated. The hyperlink opens a real time window with information on the object.
Other companies could use this technology to mash-up information and new services on other companies’ products and on their products. If a company’s product remains connected and is flexible to accommodate new services it can be upgraded based on new offers becoming available and on the use it is being made of that product. The product, to all effects morphs into a service. Will the biz model also shifts towards a service biz model?
Some trials are been done at MIT with the TRICORDER, a mobile sensor network browser (take a look at http://www.media.mit.edu/resenv/tricorder/tricorder.htm) developed by the Responsive Environment Group lead by Joseph A. Paradiso.
The name TRICORDER comes from the science fiction STAR TREK where it was a device capturing physical data from the environment, such as temperature, life presence, the kind of materials, intensity of magnetic field, or whatever was pointed out.
The TRICORDER developed at the MIT; gets data from surrounding wireless sensor networks; just point the device and it gives you real time information intercepted by sensors from the environment.
The GUI (Graphics User Interface) is simple, it shapes the environment in two dimensions; in the future, the background will be the real ambient in 3D with Hyperlink integration. Take a look at this video: http://www.media.mit.edu/resenv/tricorder/tricorder_tv.avi.
This MIT’s prototype could be an example of a mobile sensor network browser that may be implemented in our cell phones in the future.