IoT News Roundup

By Claire Swedberg

MIT's mind-reading radio; Greenwave buys Predixion; Silicon Controls to link tanks, cylinders to Sigfox network; Aria Systems connects cars; GE rolling out new Industrial Internet platform.

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MIT Researchers Detect Emotions With IoT
MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, (CSAIL), has developed a device known as the EQ-Radio that uses RF signals to capture a person’s emotions. The device measures changes in breathing and heart rhythms, and thereby enables the system to determine whether the person within range of that device is happy, sad, angry or excited.

The EQ-radio transmitter sends RF signals that reflect off an individual’s body and back to the device. It can, based on the reflected signal, determine his or her heartbeat, as well as intervals between heartbeats.

During testing, MIT computer scientist Dina Katabi and her team of researchers sent RF signals—which they say are a thousand times less powerful than conventional Wi-Fi—toward 10 women and 20 men seated three to 10 feet from the transmitters. They then collected measurements of 130,000 individual heartbeats and used the data to detect mood changes in the test subjects. They compared the results against those of existing electrocardiography used for the same purpose, and video-based emotion recognition technology based on facial expressions. The system performed as well as those technologies, the researchers found.

The EQ-radio technology is expected to benefit several industries, including entertainment, since it could detect how well, for instance, audience members responded to a movie or amusement ride. It could also enable health-care providers to detect such conditions as depression and anxiety in a patient.

Katabi has launched a spinoff company known as Emerald to make the device.

Greenwave Buys Analytics Software Provider Predixion
IoT software and managed services company Greenwave Systems has acquired IoT analytics software provider Predixion Software. Greenwave intends to incorporate Predixion’s RIOT analytics software into its own AXON Platform to provide advanced visual analytics for real-time data management.

AXON provides IoT networks for connected devices around the world. RIOT software will enable the AXON system to extract analytical data from embedded devices that sit on fixed-line or mobile networks. Users can employ the system to accomplish such tasks as fixing maintenance issues before they cause bigger problems, or relieving overworked devices by shifting resources, the companies predict. With the acquisition, Predixion’s co-founder and CEO, Simon Arkell, will serve as Greenwave’s general manager of software platforms and analytics.

Greenwave indicates that it will continue to make acquisitions with companies that will help it to expand its offerings and client base.

Silicon Controls’ Sigfox-based System Monitors Tanks and Cylinders
Tank and cylinder monitoring devices maker Silicon Controls has teamed up with Sigfox and Thinxtra to create a remote monitoring system for more than 1 million Silicon Controls devices. The new system will allow oil and gas companies to wirelessly track the condition and level of contents in the tanks and cylinders, using built-in sensors and low-power connectivity, via the Sigfox network.

Oil and gas companies typically need to monitor the contents of tanks and cylinders manually, or by relying on wired monitoring systems.

By integrating Sigfox radios into its products, Silicon Controls aims to offer automated, wireless tank and cylinder monitoring, thereby ensuring consistent fill-levels and reducing or eliminating the need for emergency deliveries. The automated monitoring could also reduce the need for maintenance.

Thinxtra, which operates Sigfox networks in Australia and New Zealand, will work with Silicon Controls to connect its monitoring equipment to a cloud-based server, via the Sigfox network.

Aria Systems Connects Cars Via the IoT
Aria Systems has created a Connected Vehicles solution for vehicle original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to support the use of IoT and digital offerings in its products. Aria provides cloud-based management of IoT data from connected cars, industrial equipment and fleet vehicles. The offering can also be provided as a post- or pre-sale add-on service. The service enables the monitoring, monetizing and billing of on-board diagnostics data streams and can be integrated with smartphone apps, provisioning systems, payment processes and existing accounting of GL systems.

The company reports that the service can provide users with access to on-demand vehicles, subscriptions to fleets of cars in a luxury apartment of office, or mileage tracking on public or private roads. The service also gives dealerships ratings, diagnostics, and management and marketing tools. In addition, Connected Vehicles provides customers with tools to access a vehicle’s sensor-based data to enable usage-based vehicle leasing. Insurers, municipalities or urban planners could also use the tool to collect or analyze driver behaviors.

Companies such as Edmunds.com, Subaru and ZipCare Transportation are already using Connected Vehicles services, Aria reports.

GE Announces New Industrial Internet Platform
General Electric‘s Automation & Controls business arm introduced the Industrial Internet Control System (IICS) at its 2016 Connected Controls Symposium, held this week in Niskayuna, N.Y. The IICS, built on top of GE’s RX3i and Mark Vie industrial control systems, uses GE’s Field Agent ruggedized gateway, which collects sensor data from equipment and manufacturing systems. The IICS is designed to enable GE’s customers to connect sensor data, via the Field Agent devices, to GE’s Predix IoT platform, while also providing a means by which they can develop business-specific applications powered by Predix.

The IICS includes access to GE’s Industrial Cloud Platform, a real-time process optimization and control tool, data security tools, advanced analytics software and professional services, all offered in a modular, scalable format.

GE reports that its beta IICS customers have improved the performance of their monitored assets by more than 7 percent.