YOU ARE AT:Internet of Things (IoT)ARMTechCon: Enabling IoT use cases

ARMTechCon: Enabling IoT use cases


SANTA CLARA, Calif.–British chip design company ARM’s technology powers billions of wireless devices, so the company has unique perspective on the types of internet of things products that exist and are coming down the pipe.

Mike Muller, CTO of ARM, ran through a number of the intriguing technologies in IoT use cases during a talk during ARMTechCon on Tuesday. ARM is promoting IoT development through a number of channels and partnerships, including the Wearables for Good contest with Unicef.

There were about 250 entrants to the Wearables for Good contest, with two winners and 10 finalists emerging. Khushi Baby is a near-field communciations tag encased in plastic that can be made into a necklace pendant and is used to track immunization data and keep patient records in India — solving patient record-keeping problems in poor, rural or remote locations, as the device can be easily scanned by a nurse with a smartphone.

The necklace is priced at $1 each — a cost low enough that it can be given away in large numbers. According to the Khushi Baby website, it conducted its first deployment and randomized controlled trial in over 70 Indian villages in partnership with a non-governmental organization’s monthly immunization program and is “now set to expand further in the Udaipur district to over 300 villages … in the coming year.”

Muller also said that there is also potential for IoT to be used as a sort of breathalizer test for cancer, analyzing the chemical makeup of a person’s breath. Dogs, he noted, have been shown to be able to identify cancer from sniffing urine samples. Lung cancer may be able to detected by such breath analysis to enable early identification. Now there is a clinical trial involving more than 3,000 people across 17 hospitals, he said.

Another healthcare trial Muller described involves a small device to be implanted in the brain to measure pressure within the cranium in brain cancer patients to judge response to chemotherapy and the status of tumors without MRI scans; or for assessing hydrocephalus. Meanwhile, connected sensors are also being used to provide real-time information on the curing process of concrete. On the more frivolous side, he pointed to a Kickstarter project called Toasteroid for a connected toaster that prints the weather forecast and other images on toast.

Even personal care companies, Muller said, have been interested in IoT for things like smart deodorant that uses tiny, disposable sensors on the skin to pick up odor and respond by releasing more scent.

“Hopefully, Moore’s law is going to be extended,” Muller said. “But … even if it isn’t, there is still going to be innovation going on in our business. … The things that people are coming up with, I think are quite incredible. People are going to innovate even with the technology that we have available today.”

Yet he added that “Innovation is not always about technology. It can be a change in people’s behavior. .. You have to think about what is the real problem you’re trying to solve.”

The other Wearables for Good winner, SoaPen, doesn’t have any wireless connectivity at all — although it is supported by a free mobile app that includes hygiene information. SoaPen is a wearable, brightly colored soap-crayon used to mark children’s skin so that they will properly wash their hands to prevent the spread of potentially fatal diseases such as cholera.

Image copyright: aimage / 123RF Stock Photo


Kelly Hill
Kelly reports on network test and measurement, as well as the use of big data and analytics. She first covered the wireless industry for RCR Wireless News in 2005, focusing on carriers and mobile virtual network operators, then took a few years’ hiatus and returned to RCR Wireless News to write about heterogeneous networks and network infrastructure. Kelly is an Ohio native with a masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where she focused on science writing and multimedia. She has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, The Oregonian and The Canton Repository. Follow her on Twitter: @khillrcr

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