The Wrap: 30 October

The Wrap: 30 October

Training wheels for the internet of things

If you haven't heard of the internet of things (IoT), it's a way of connecting all types of objects to the net with unique identifiers to get them to spit out information. Now IBM is coming to the aid of IoT noobs with a starter kit that lets you do everything from monitoring parking spaces and air pollution levels to helping old folks.

Working with engineers at partner Libelium, the Waspmote wireless senor platform works with IBM's software to connect devices to the net over IPv6.

Starting developers get support for over 60 different sensors so they can build applications on top of them and to add their own algorithms using source code libraries.

If that all sounds too geeky, IBM Research computer scientist Thorsten Kramp sums up why it's all worth it. “If we can harvest the Big Data insights from all of the things connected to the Internet we can more precisely understand how our world actually works. By making internet of things application development easier, the answers to the grand challenges of our age becomes more feasible.”

Google Earth slaps on the cuffs

An unsuspecting marijuana grower has apparently been snapped by the watchful eye of Google Earth, an Oregon newspaper reports. Local police evidently used the bird's eye view to surveil the man after he'd bragged about his crop, then made sure of his crimes with a flyover. They then send in a drug enforcement team to make the arrest. Guess it's not just a way for exhibitionists to flaunt their physiques and mow rude words in their front lawns. 

Driving range

We're already hearing plenty about driverless cars. Then there are those that park themselves and can keep their distance from the car in front. If you're a 'don't you know who I am?' type who needs your car parked, like, now, you'll appreciate Honda's announcement that it's developing a self-parking car.

 No need for human valets with this technology, which uses the car's rear parking camera and security cameras. Once in a drop-off area, information is sent to the car from a central console to tell it which spaces are available to park in. Roll out the red carpet, we'll be driving up soon.

Sharing sickness

Sharing apps are everywhere. They tell us what we should be buying, where to take in a good show and the good places to dine out. nEmesis, while still undergoing trials, is a little different. It gives a window into where you shouldn't be dining out.

The app, created by scientists at the University of Rochester in the US, combs Twitter for mentions of food poisoning, searching for terms and hashtags like tummy ache and threw up. The geo-tagged tweets are then cross-referenced on a map using restaurant locations. This is one to watch if you don't want to lose your next meal.