Google is Helping Build an Internet of Things Campus in Carnegie Mellon University

Google provided a grant of $500,000 for Carnegie Mellon University that will turn its campuses into a living lab of Internet of Things sensors.

Carnegie Mellon University's student Adrian deFreitas uses Impromptu, a system that accesses shared apps only when needed, such as a public transit app when the user is standing near a bus stop. Photo: Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University's student Adrian deFreitas uses Impromptu, a system that accesses shared apps only when needed, such as a public transit app when the user is standing near a bus stop. Photo: Carnegie Mellon University

Google has launched a new $500,000 project that will help Carnegie Mellon University to turn its Oakland campus into a living lab for smart technologies. Under the plan, the university will create a platform that will allow wireless sensors to communicate with each other.

“The goal of our project will be nothing less than to radically enhance human-to-human and human-to­-computer interaction through a large-scale deployment of the Internet of Things (IoT) that ensures privacy, accommodates new features over time and enables people to readily design applications for their own use,” said Anind K. Dey, the leading investigator of the expedition.

Besides Anind K. Dey, the lead team also involves Chris Harrison, Anthony Rowe, Yuvraj Agarwal, Mahadev Satyanarayanan, Jason Hong and Andrew Moore from the university’s College of Engineering and School of Computer Science.

The IoT technology means adding network connectivity to such everyday objects as bus stops or coffee pots, enabling people to interact with them.

Google funded the IoT research expedition to stimulate universities to investigate different aspects of system design that could help to boost the adoption of the IoT technology. The aim of the program is to make the IoT a reality for everybody.

Under the project, the researchers from the university will work together with Stanford, University of Illinois, Cornell and Google to develop GIoTTO, a new system that will support IoT applications. It will include inexpensive and simple sensors, middleware for app development and new instruments to help users to create their IoT experiences.

“We believe the collaboration with and across universities will accelerate innovation and IoT adoption,” said Maggie Johnson, director of university relations for Google.

In the meantime, the second team will work on the development of the new technology to improve protection of users. “We will demonstrate the use of personalized privacy assistants that help users configure the many privacy settings necessary to ensure that they retain adequate control over their data,” said Computer Science Professor Norman Sadeh.

The researchers have developed a system, called Snap2It, that will allows users to connect to a projector or printer by making a photo of it using their smartphones. Another interesting program created by developers is dubbed Impromptu. It accesses shared apps only when it is necessary, for example, if you’re visiting a store you’re linked to a retailer app.

The project is expected to drive adoption of the Internet of Things and enlarge the use of IoT apps in Pittsburgh. “The City of Pittsburgh has emerged as a leader in embracing innovation to enhance city services and improve the quality of life of our citizens. Collaborations with its university community have been an important element of the city’s innovation strategy. We welcome the opportunity for the city to join with CMU and Google to create a living laboratory for the Internet of Things,” said Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto.

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