In the last few months I’ve picked up a GPS module, a Suunto t6 wrist computer (yes, it can tell time), a heart rate monitor (with the t6), and an accellerometer (also for the t6). It’s been part of some personal research into real-time, near-real-time, and post-event sensors-based analysis. It really arose out of my (obsession) to log physical parameters associated with each of my runs, such as route, temp, clothing, and my emotional and physical state.
After using these various types of sensors, augmented with personal observations and Internet data, I’ve come to realize that sensors are as much about the Mobile Lifestyle as mobile phones are.
Matt Jones (link below) had a brainwave recently about mobile sensors, set off by reading, via Kotke, an article by Kevin Kelly (yes, from the Long Now Foundation, whose seminars I keep telling everyone to listen to).
I wish Matt luck with his Tricorder.
And, prompted by this cognection, I would like to impart some observations I have had from hooking up to sensors:
– The format of the real-time display of info (like my t6) is important. Maybe the phone is not the only display, but could be the main computer with some satellite display(s).
– Not all info in needed real-time. Some info is more appropriately reviewed when not in real-time.
– Also, there are different time-scales for different parameters, such as weather (long-time) and locations (short-time).
– Finally, some sensors are more intrusive or complicated than others, such as GPS (complicated), heart-rate (semi-intrusive), accellerometer (invisible).
Regarding the sensors, themselves, I’m not sure all these sensors could be ‘in’ the phone, but definitely all of them could be networked ‘with’ a phone. The sensors will likely be peppered around the body, clothing, devices, tools, domains, environment (hmm, sounding ubiquitous) – the thing being sensed will determine how that data is served.
Have fun Matt.
What I immediately imagined was the extension of this quiz into the fabric of the near-future mobile and it’s sensors – location (GPS, CellID), orientation (accelerometers or other tilt sensors), light (camera), heat (Nokia 5140’s have thermometers…), signal strength, local interactions with other devices (Bluetooth, uPnP, NFC/RFID) and of course, a connection to the net.
The near-future mobile could become a ‘tricorder’ for the Big Here – a daemon that challenges or channels your actions in accordance and harmony to the systems immediately around you and the ripples they raise at larger scales.