Imagine, with the wave of a hand, adjusting the thermostat without getting out of bed, or turning up the music in the other room while in the shower. WiSee, a new gesture-recognition system, aims to harness the ever-present wireless Internet signals blanketing people’s homes to allow remote control of all their electronics. Since walls pose no obstacle for WiFi’s radio waves to traverse, such a system could work throughout the entire house, even if users are several rooms removed from the appliance they’re controlling.
“This is something people have been thinking about for some time,” says Shyamnath Gollakota, a University of Washington computer scientist. “But we asked: Can we scale it to much larger spaces, say in the whole home or building?”
Researchers have developed software to predict where blackouts are most likely to happen when storms hit, which could help authorities cut the amount of time people are in the dark after disasters like Hurricane Sandy.
Sandy wreaked havoc in 2012, causing as much as nearly $50 billion in damage, making it the second-costliest hurricane to hit the United States. At its peak, it left roughly 8.5 million people without power.
“As large storms increase in frequency and intensity in the United States and worldwide due to changing climate, getting profiles of where places are vulnerable to damage and investing in infrastructure to eliminate those vulnerabilities is integral to maintaining a well-operating power grid,” says Steven Fernandez, a national security issues researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.
The future is nigh for immersive human-computer interaction with a newly released coding toolkit.
Oblong, an information visualization company thinking beyond touch and mouse to interact with computers, has opened up its core platform to developers. The company says its platform, called Greenhouse, lets developers merge spatially aware input devices like the Kinect, smartphones, Leap Motion and Wii remote with multiscreen and multidevice interfaces.
Greenhouse helps application developers rapidly prototype new interfaces that can harness gestures and other movements to navigate through the digital world.
GE is deploying brilliant machines to hospitals to connect patients to software and staff. It’s the hospital of tomorrow coming to communities around the globe today where computers and smart tools talk to each other millions of times a second. The result reduces patient wait times and helps healthcare workers increase hospital efficiency.
We all know Agent Smith, an artificial intelligence program within The Matrix universe that was designed to keep order. Now GE is using its own Agent Smith for the good of humanity, bringing the industrial internet to healthcare, wiring hardware with innovative software that uses data to track patients and equipment.
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