IoT for Public/Private Safety and Other Fun

The 2015 World Maker Fair was both incredible and overwhelming. The sheer amount of technology and engineering concentrated in the few square miles outside the New York Hall of Science was enough to make any maker excited :O). Upon entering the the Fair, I bee-lined for the Intel and Microsoft tents where I could see the latest IoT technology in action.

Below is an IoPST (Internet of Public Safety Things) prototype. The maker, whose name I have embarrassingly forgot, retrofitted existing electronics that public safety officers currently use in field with the Intel Edison chip, which allows sensor data from each product to be transmitted and tracked via dashboard. We’re talking about everything from body temperature to heart rate to location. This certainly has implications for body cameras, especially since many states are currently grappling with police body camera legislation. The impact of improved IoPST is not only in accountability but in actually monitoring the physical safety of public servants in the field.

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Earlier this year, in response to a gas explosion that occurred in the East Village that took three lives and leveled two buildings, I wrote an article about how IoT technology can actively monitor gas pressure and other key metrics to help prevent major accidents from occurring. This past weekend, I had the opportunity to meet Philippe Libioulle (pictured below), who won the “Hack Your Home” IoT contest held by Microsoft and Hackster.io in September. This year, the contest’s theme was home automation and Philippe was able to create a series of awesome home IoT products using Raspberry Pi, Windows Core IoT and Azure that alerts when there is fire, water leakage, or low temperature in your home. His entire hardware and software solution is available here and though it’s a long read, it is so darn cool and 100% DIY.

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Besides traipsing around the IoT booths, I also visited a ton of other displays that covered the most recent technology in 3-D printing, hydroponics, and kid’s games (did you know you can make your pinball machine? I didn’t.) The 3-D printing space has interested me for a while now and though the technology is rapidly developing, I don’t think that 3-D printing has really gone mainstream yet outside of self-selected group of people who like to play with the printers for fun. Though the technology is awesome (and has been around in the consumer product industry for a while now), I have still yet to see what the actual business use cases are for personal ownership of a 3-D printer. I can see it going mainstream if people are able to quickly print clothing that fits the measurements of their bodies. Outside of that, not so sure. The materials, though, have come a long way. I was thrilled to see wood, copper, resin, and steel printed at the fair.

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3-D Printed Guitar and it was actually in tune!

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Oh yea, and I saw this kid. A minor celebrity in the world of makers. I’m glad he seemed to be enjoying himself.

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Overall, a great and informative weekend!

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