Inside the small wooden box are several tiny sensors, a cellular modem, a battery, and a micro-processor running custom programming code. But the key innovation for Erica Pereira’s “Lane of Things” device might be the laser-printed cut-out design of the outer enclosure: two circles and a square forming a friendly emoji-like face.
Their box was just one of over forty sensor nodes built by Lane Tech students as part of the first Lane of Things workshop, funded by Motorola Solutions and organized by the Urban Center for Computation and Data (UrbanCCD) and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) as part of the broader Array of Things (AoT) project. The workshop was the first stage of the AoT’s educational component, using the technology and principles of the urban sensing platform to help students learn about programming, data science, digital fabrication, and additional CS concepts.
Since its announcement last summer, the Array of Things (AoT) urban sensing project has been gradually refining its technology and strategy for its expected pilot launch this spring. For the February edition of Inside the Discovery Cloud, project leaders Charlie Catlett and Douglas Pancoast provided the latest update on the status of AoT, tackling the design, community engagement, computer architecture, and scientific aspects of the project.
Many people now wear wristbands or other devices to track their activity, giving them access to rich data about their daily routine that can help guide them towards healthier decisions and behaviors. The ambitious Array of Things project, led by the Urban Center for Computation and Data, seeks to create a similar bounty of data to better understand the environment, infrastructure, and activity of cities, creating a new public instrument for research, education, and applications that improve the lives of city residents.