New York Tech Journal
Tech news from the Big Apple

HardwiredNYC: #drones, #AmazonEcho, #SmartLuggage, #SmartCities

Posted on April 5th, 2016

#HardwiredNYC

04/05/2015 @WeWork, 115 W 18th Street, NY

20160405_183845[1] 20160405_190431[1] 20160405_191824[1] 20160405_195056[1]

The following speakers presented

Brian Streem @Aerobo (build and service drones) talked about the drone market. After showing two videos: Chromaticity and Paint the Sky (about the shooting of Chromaticity), Brian spoke about

  1. The Aerobo mini – a lightweight drone designed to provide live broadcast quality feeds which can be transmitted up to 3 miles.
  2. They have a 333 exemption from regulation which is required to commercially fly a drone in the U.S. They anticipate new FAA rules that may relax some of the current requirements, such as requiring a pilot’s license for commercial flights. Also he anticipates that a category of micro UAVs will be created with alternative licensing requirements.

Next, Donn Morrill @AmazonEcho talked about the hardware and software of the echo and how Amazon is targeting it to be the center of smart home integration. He provided some insights into the design philosophy of the software including

  1. They will probably not release tools to analyze the tone, volume, speed of speech detected by the API since they are sensitive to user experience and want to product the brand
  2. In a similar vein, they do not plan to allow skills to be self-initiating (all skills require you to initiate the conversation) to avoid verbal spam.

Next, Matt Turck interviewed John Udashkin  & Justin @Raden (luggage with a battery and Bluetooth). Justin initiated the product following extensive travel experience when he worked in the fashion industry. Fashion dictated the design of a product with simple lines as in the iPhone and Beats.

Justin and John noted

  1. Justin researched the luggage industry under the tutelage of a retired executive at Tumi.
  2. This contact allowed him to gain credibility when looking for a manufacturing partner
  3. They chose VC over crowd funding for its greater flexibility
  4. John formerly worked at Quirky, so he had the manufacturing contacts needed for the electronics
  5. Integrated the electronics was difficult since luggage and electronics factories are very different: luggage factories are larger and dirtier, electronics factors are smaller and emphasize cleanliness.
  6. They were careful to avoid problems passing air transport security such as limiting the size of the battery and making it removable. Also wiring and Bluetooth can be accessible if the bag is inspected.
  7. They eventually see their app as a full utility platform with information such as TSA wait times, real time flight updates, etc.
  8. They are looking beyond online sales and see the advantages of retail outlets such as malls.
  9. Their product can be seen at a popup store at 72 Spring Street, NY

They also talked about pivots during development

Design change. They tested a biometric lock, but found it was not useful and can create electronics issues since luggage gets knocked around.

The electronics enclosure was originally different, but it suffered damage & wire breakage. The eventual design has a strong backplate to shock proof and water proof the electronics.

Finally, Joao Barros @Veniam talked about the communication network developed in Porto, Portugal (also known for the elegant arch-truss bridge constructed there by Gustav Eiffel). Porto has a mesh network consisting of wi-fi hotspots supplemented by hot spots in vehicles. These hotspots allow seamless integration of wi-fi, cellular and 5.9GHz networks.

Joao said that vehicles offer an ideal platform for hotspots

  1. They are mobile so they can collect data throughout the city = smart city
  2. Their batteries are recharged by the engine
  3. They are large enough that it is not an inconvenience to have a box large enough to hold multiple communications devices
  4. They can provide in-vehicle entertainment
  5. They can be used as an emergence communications backup for other systems
  6. They can be used to avoid vehicle collisions

The key technology is the ability to perform seamlessly handoffs across different networks (wi-fi, cell, 5.9GHz).

Specific applications are sensors of garbage cans indicating when they have already been emptied and heart rate monitoring of drivers indicating issues on the roads.

The system is also installed in Singapore and they will soon announce a rollout in the U.S.

posted in:  hardware, Hardwired NYC, Natural User Interface, NYC smart city and energy data, startup, UX    / leave comments:   No comments yet