Carnegie Mellon to bring Google-funded IoT lab to campus

Carnegie Mellon University was a pioneer of networked computing, linking thousands of computers together in the 1980s to form the first fully-wired campus. Now CMU is making a similar leap into the Internet of Things, as it announced earlier this month that it has received $500,000 from Google’s Open Web of Things initiative to make the campus a “living lab” for the latest connected technologies.

The project, codenamed GIoTTO, will deploy a combination of hardware to collect data about the physical world, software to facilitate secure and private communication, and development tools to make it easy for users to create, share and access new applications.

“An early milestone will include the development of our IoT appstore, where any campus member and the larger research community will be able to develop and share an IoT script, action, multiple-sensor feed, or application easily and widely,” said Anind Dey, project lead and director of CMU’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute, in a statement. “Because many novel IoT applications require a critical mass of sensors, CMU will use inexpensive sensors to add IoT capability to ‘dumb’ appliances and environments across the campus.”

Existing CMU innovations that will be incorporated into GIoTTO include Snap2It, an app that lets users connect to any campus printer or projector by taking a photo with their smartphone; and Impromptu, which automatically accesses shared apps based on location and context, like opening a transit app when a user is at a bus stop. Researchers from Stanford, Cornell, and the University of Illinois will also contribute to the project, especially in the areas of privacy and security.

“From the many excellent proposals received, we’ve chosen Carnegie Mellon to lead because of their vision for a living laboratory, validating system design through daily use,” said Maggie Johnson, Google’s director of university relations, in a statement. “We believe the collaboration with and across universities will accelerate innovation and IoT adoption.”