Beyond Smart Phones: Sensor Network to Make 'Smart Cities' Envisioned

 
Car-to-car communications could help to prevent traffic jams. (Credit: Copyright Thomas Ott)
Thanks to numerous sensors, Smartphones make it easy for their owners to organize certain parts of their lives. However, that is just the beginning. Darmstadt researchers envision entire "smart" cities, where all devices present within municipal areas are intelligently linked to one another.
Computer scientists, electrical and computer engineers, and mathemati­cians at the TU Darmstadt and the University of Kassel have joined forces and are working on implementing that vision under their "Cocoon" project. The backbone of a "smart" city is a communications network consisting of sen­sors that receive streams of data, or signals, analyze them, and trans­mit them onward. Such sensors thus act as both receivers and trans­mit­ters, i.e., represent trans­ceivers. The networked communications involved oper­ates wire­lessly via radio links, and yields added values to all partici­pants by analyzing the input data involved. For example, the "Smart Home" control system already on the market allows networking all sorts of devices and automatically regulating them to suit demands, thereby alleg­edly yielding energy savings of as much as fifteen percent.

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