The Internet of Everything: a real-world Matrix

Howard Charney, senior vice president in the Office of the President at Cisco says the technology world is rapidly developing

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The Internet of Everything: a real-world Matrix Howard Charney, senior vice president, office of the president, Cisco says that people are controlling prosthetic limbs with thought, such as wheelchairs.
By  Georgina Enzer Published  April 2, 2013

The University of California is currently working on neural electronics - a flexible wearable patch that goes on the body and picks up skin resistivity and electrical signals that are sent through the human body and wirelessly allows the user to control other things, according to Howard Charney, senior vice president, office of the president, Cisco.

"We already know that people are controlling prosthetic limbs with thought, such as wheelchairs; this has been demonstrated in labs," said Charney.

Today the cloud provides us with storage, computation and network services, but one of the things that is being looked at by scientists, according to Cisco, is whether the cloud could act as an extension of the human brain; i.e. a computing service that is akin to making the human brain twice or three or 10 times more powerful than it is today.

"We have about 300 million pattern recognition models in the human brain. The way that we think has to do with recognising patterns; we see a pattern and correlate that to another pattern and draw a conclusion - that is what makes us humans. Instead of having 300 million pattern recognition models, what if you had 600 million. Imagine what you could think and dream about. Imagine what might be possible," said Charney.

The cloud could be utilised as an extension of the human cortex and so just like today the cloud is a matter of storage and computation and network services. In the not too distant future Cisco says that you will be able to interact with the cloud from your brain.

This human-IT interface technology is part of ongoing research into the Internet of Everything, or connecting everything in the world to the Internet and the network. Charney says that if you can connect people together more efficiently in their daily lives, good things happen; that is the Internet of Everything.

"We are awash in data, we are collecting lots of information, but we don't use it, so part of the Internet of Everything is that we would actually ratchet up and take to a new level of usage the information that we are collecting; 0.05% of the world's data is actually being utilised and that is a very, very small amount of information. If you are collecting data, what could you do differently if you actually use the information profitably?" he said.

An example of the use of the Internet of Everything is that scientists discovered last year that doctors can predict illness in premature babies before it becomes obvious, utilising data collected from the newborn.

"Scientists discovered that 40% of all babies are born premature. A premature baby clinic or ward collects all kinds of information: heart rate, blood oxygenation - they collect so much information. However, they only collect one statistic per hour for each infant, for each piece of information. So they collect the information continuously but they only record it once an hour on the chart. A computer scientist in the University of Ontario technical research centre, began looking at the information and discovered that the heart rate of a healthy baby is not exactly regular, but when you get an infection or illness, the heart rate become more regular. Using heart rate, doctors can predict the premature babies that will come down with an infection 24 hours before they actually get sick, which is amazing. This means that you can treat infections before they actually occur," said Charney.

Another example is the automobile of the future, which, according to Cisco is not just a highly efficient petrochemical machine; it communicates with other cars, with trucks, with the road, with traffic conditions and collects real time information, not just about the health of the automobile itself, but also from a safety standpoint.

"We can have traffic lights eliminated in the not too distant future because of the instrumentation and the use of the collected data to increase the efficiency of these devices. All of the automotive companies - Ford, GM, Chrysler, Mercedes, BMW - they are all working on vehicles that are astounding in their level of automation. The level of automation we will see over the next decade makes what we have today seem like childs' play," said Charney. "That basically is the concept of the Internet of Everything; it will change everything on our planet."

If you had the opportunity to connect your body, Matrix style, to cyberspace, would you take it? Join our poll here.

 

 

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