M2M at its most rewarding
Right now, as a serious sideline, I’m writing about advanced networking technology such as software-defined networking and network functions virtualisation. I like disruptive developments and writing about them can be challenging, but M2M is something else. It doesn’t disrupt a specific sector, e.g. networking: instead it enhances the performance of key verticals and also enables the creation of new markets, e.g. wearable devices. Moreover, M2M delivers tangible benefits to individuals, businesses and society and writing about them is rewarding. This is particularly true for e-health and the environment.
The VGo telepresence robot shown here is an amazing high-tech / high-touch product that provides a natural communications experience for somebody who is remote and wants to move around in a different facility. Both sides can see and hear each other. The robot has a camera, speakers and a display and the remote person uses their computer or a tablet. If this person was a doctor in a remote location, he or she could see and hear the patient on their mobile device. The patient would communicate with the doctor or clinician via VGo, which could be alongside the bed, thereby replicating the traditional bedside manner.
This telepresence robot is also a great way of enabling students who are injured or ill to attend school and this is particularly beneficial for young people who might have immune deficiencies and other physical challenges that might make attendance impossible. Now, they can participate in classroom discussions and share in the social aspects of locker-side chats, lunch period and moving from class to class. The robot becomes a friend.
Molluscs as environment sensors
Oysters, clams and scallops obtain the nutrients they need from the water they breathe. The shells open in order to filter out the food particles, receive oxygen and remove CO2; at other times they are closed, resting. The timing of this behavior is an indicator of the quality of the water. When faced with pollution or poor quality water the shell closes, or stays permanently open, for abnormal periods of time.
Valuable information can also be gleaned from the size of the opening, movement speed and their biological rhythms. The shell of a happy oyster will be closed for a few hours at very regular time periods. A stressed oyster will exhibit irregular and shorter closing periods.
Human lip reading is done with your eyes, the lips are visible, but you can’t see the movements of molluscs’ lips, valves is a more exact term, when they are thousands of kilometres away in the sea. The trick is to glue very light electrodes to the shell in order to monitor and record those movements. This is a proven solution that has been implemented in various locations, including the Arctic.