People Power brings Skynet one step closer

SuRF boards
SuRF boards

People Power, a green-tech start-up based in the heart of the Silicon Valley, recently introduced a kit it calls SuRF, for Sensor Ultra-Radio Frequency. SuRF helps connect household appliances and gadgets to a wireless network in your house.

“What that means is that you could monitor your microwave, Playstation and coffee machine in real time, check their levels of energy consumption, and make apps to control how they behave. Ultimately, that could lead to substantial savings of energy and money” writes Wired.

Or it could lead to a self-aware network of gadgets that will try to take you (the owner) out of equation, a la Skynet. Just kidding!

Seriously, this is a promising new technology that would need some serious backing from the device and appliance manufacturers to really take off. And when it does it might make our lives better, saving us some energy and money in the process. Sounds good to me!

On a technical note…

SuRF developer’s kit ($150) consists of two boards with long-range 900MHz radios, powered by the Texas Instruments CC340 platform. The transmitter and receiver could operate up to 100 feet from each other.

SuRF is powered by the company’s Open Source Home Area Network operating system. OSHAN is based on TinyOS, a platform for wireless sensors that currently has about 10,000 developers. Moss hopes OSHAN-powered devices could replace the networks we have at home — Personal Access Networks, with a range of about 30-40 feet — with something he calls Home Access Networks, with a range of 100-200 feet.

SuRF comes in a neat, surfboard-shaped box. Open it, and you’re greeted by the sound of the Beach Boys and “Surfin’ USA”. And OSHAN is pronounced “ocean.” Yes, there’s a conscious theme there.

A couple of manufacturers already embracing the new People Power’s tech by implementing it into wireless devices that monitor output from solar panels (National Semiconductor) and irrigation and landscape lightining controls (Bibaja).

Read more on SuRF in Wired magazine online.

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About Ruslan Ulanov 103 Articles
Ruslan Ulanov is a software engineer by day and Smart Home hacker by night. He got fascinated by potential of home automation over a decade ago, when it was available to select few. Over the years experimented with smart products using different technologies from X10 to Insteon to ZigBee. Actively supports new smart home developments on Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

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