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TechFest - Feng Zhao - Tiny Web Services

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In honor of Earth day today, we're putting this video back up on the home page as it's a great eco-friendly concept and it's programmable!

What if you could build a microchip that was power efficient enough to run a small Web server and host Web services that enabled it to monitor or change it's state, all using 2AA batteries that could run for years? Feng's team is building exactly that, a series of prototype sensors that can be used to do things like monitor electricity efficiency and usage over time to help reduce costs and be more green and you can programatically control them in Visual Studio like you would any Web service.

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  • ivan_ivan_ g
    That is not entirely new.

    There are TinyDB and TinyOS for micro motes (sensor networks) designed by UC Berkeley. These things have been around for at least 5 years if not more, there are books written about it.

    I remember while in school we were using these motes to build web services on Apache to query sensors. I know it is different from Tiny Web Services, but the idea was similar. We could monitor occupancy, temperature and location , etc.

    check this out.
    http://www.cs.wmich.edu/wsn/


  • CKurtCKurt while( ( !​succeed=try​() ) ) { }
    You are right, but this adds a few new points. There are not only sensors but there are some 'switches that can be set remotely to, and the wake up from sleep seems very handy to.

    I would love to play with it at home so i can turn on the tv, coffee machine and so with my laptop or any device with a web browser (phone) and not running al sorts of new cable's trough my home.
  • William Staceystaceyw Before C# there was darkness...

    Great ideas.  I love the tiny tcp server thing in general.  Would be great for all sorts of things, temp, humidity, security, streaming vid, two-way voice, etc.  However, I am unclear why the 2 AA thing is focus here.  I would think at that size, you could steal enouph power from the Ethernet cable or USB cable.

    If you could make a HomePlug version, you have all the power you need so you have room for more features more flexible placement options - as a wedge device between bulb and outlet so you could place tiny "servers" in all your interior/exterior lights (for instance) for security and light management all reporting back to central controller in the house (i.e. Home Server).

  • William Staceystaceyw Before C# there was darkness...
    Another cool idea would be to make features/function plugable - like Nintendo.  So the base units would be standard, but you could plug in and/or *stack different modules - temp module, video module, camera module, voice module, on/off module, servo module, gun module (JK), etc.  Essencially this becomes a distributed remote robot matrix. Public could trade them like crackerjacks.  In fact, they would be cheap enouph to ship in crackerjack boxes as the prize and hand out at McD's.
  • This looks really interesting.  Can you use https to communicate with devices?  I can imagine this will be a commercial concern.  I can imaging it would be interesting if your home pc was infected with a virus that played havoc with you sensor or control devices
  • ivan_ivan_ g
    The focus on the batteries is because you can deploy and forget.

    In the military scenario you would drop thousands of these chips from an airplane to gather all sorts of data. In fact there are some projects where traffic gets routed from one chip to another trough the network so you can reach motes which are unreachable directly. There are also some techniques where you can sync signals from several motes to build a virtual smart antenna array thus boosting a signal in one direction. It is a very interesting field, I'm glad MS is working in this are. Which means devices would get a lot cheapper. Smiley
  • Dan FernandezDan
    timfreemans4s wrote:
    This looks really interesting.  Can you use https to communicate with devices?  I can imagine this will be a commercial concern.  I can imaging it would be interesting if your home pc was infected with a virus that played havoc with you sensor or control devices


    Given that they have implemented WS-Events for services, I would assume they could or would implement the WS-Security spec which has a number of options for securing a message as SSL would only add that a message got from point A to point B without being intercepted.

  • William Staceystaceyw Before C# there was darkness...
    Need to "bake" into electrical outlets with built in Power-line networking.  Then total home automation become no-brainer.  Can turn off "vampire" devices like sterio and tvs that keep sucking 10-20% power even when off (those red lights).  With smart power management could save at lease 20-30% electric in all homes for probably a 1K investment.  Go "Green plugs".  I want them.

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