7.8 tons of autonomous grain collecting action

The original article was first published on Hackaday by Jenny List

Matt Reimer makes his money farming fields in Southwestern Manitoba, Canada. The main commodity in this part of the World is grain. Besides the person driving the combine harvester, there is a position which requires even more relentlessness. There is always a person who drives a tractor next to the harvester, collecting the grain to a trailer and making laps to unload the contents of the trailer into a big truck. Obviously, a person for this job is hard to find, especially when the other farmers in the area are also hiring.

At first, Matt was working on the idea of remotely controlled tractor. He continually moved on to using autopilot systems, even developing his own Autonomous Grain Cart software. Currently, his installation can drive towards the harvester, collect the grains from it and drive back.

The unloading it into a truck is not yet automated. However, considering the speed of Matt’s progress, which he monitored on his YouTube channel, the update including the automation of tractor unloading should be coming soon.

It is important to note that Matt’s farming land is quite ideal, as it is big and flat, for developing such a system. Implementation of autonomous grain collector in a less forgiving terrain could be harder. The safety features demanded from autonomous vehicles have to be set high. Also, agricultural tractors are big machines, capable of running over or through most objects. Vacuum cleaners and lawn mowers have already made their transition, but at this size, more challenges around safety will arise.

Matt’s work is still very impressive. It is the proof that important innovation does not only come from high profile research labs. Automating farming practices could be a considerable set up in agricultural production. In a long term, it could also mean cutting costs in this area. Autonomous farming has a lot of potential and it could ‘grow’ into a new branch of a well-established industry.


'Innovation' & 'Transdisciplinarity' are the keywords of ArtsIT and DLI 2016

ArtsIT 2016, the 5th EAI International Conference: ArtsIT, Interactivity & Game Creation, and DLI 2016, the 1st EAI International Conference on Design, Learning & Innovation are going to take place in Esbjerg, Denmark on 2-3 May, 2016 at the Esbjerg Campus of Aalborg University.

The ArtsIT series of conferences have been created to provide a platform where researchers and practitioners in the Arts and Humanities, who have a keen interest in contemporary IT developments, meet with individuals working in the fields of computational technologies and IT who, in their turn, profess to strong ties to the fine arts and the design disciplines in their output. With the extended call including Interactivity and Game Creation, the focus is widened to reflect trends in state-of-the art whereby the art of interactivity and game creation is included to encourage cross-fertilisation between these related fields.

Attendees to DLI 2016 will have access also to the Program and keynote speeches of ArtsIT 2016: the expert in computational vision, vision-based interfaces, serious games and rehabilitation, Dr. Antoni Jaume Capó (Balearic Islands University), Professor and Design Educator Sudarshan Khanna (ITRA – International Toy Research Association) and Surabhi Khanna (Designer, Educator, New Delhi, India), associated with several institutions of design and education as a part time and visiting faculty.

Authors will also have a nice opportunity, since selected papers may be invited to publish in the EAI Endorsed Transactions on Creative Technologies and the EAI Endorsed Transactions of Serious Games, and selected works will appear also in the International Journal of Arts and Technology (Inderscience).

Read also what the General Chairs thinks about the conferences: Prof. Anthony Brooks, General Chair at ArtsIT 2016, and Eva Petersson Brooks General Chair at DLI 2016 (Aalborg University Esbjerg, Denmark).

Find more details about both conferences, visit the official websites: ArtsIT2016 and DLI 2016.


ICT innovations are coming from labs to the market at an incredible pace

We talked with Prof. Munoz de Cote, researcher at the Institute of Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics in Mexico, and the general chair of the upcoming AFI 360° Conference Track on Future Internet and Internet of Things Applications (FIoTA 2016) which will take place in Puebla, Mexico on May 25–27, 2016. How can the future of IoT benefit from Artificial Intelligence techniques and how this mix can result in a strong benefit for practical applications of IoT? Read on.

What is the central topic of FIoTA 2016 and why is it important? What is this event’s vision?

Enrique Munoz de Cote, General Chair of FIoTA 2016

The rapid advancement of ubiquitous computation and mobile networks together are enabling technology advancements in the area of sensing, predicting and controlling of our physical spaces. Such technology advancements are nowadays deployed in a web based information creation and sharing platform to give form to what is now known as the Internet of Things (IoT).

The Internet of Things is increasingly pervading our world, and can completely change both the design of major infrastructures and the way people behave in their daily activities. Just to give some concrete examples, consider the smart grid for energy distribution, where computational devices communicate and interact to sort out which are the best operational parameters for the whole system. Another example are the recent systems for real time ride-sharing, that allow people to arrange one-time rides at a short notice with their private cars. Widening the scope we can think of sensor networks for environmental monitoring, where sensors from different part of the world provide key information on wild-life, weather and water conditions, air pollution and so forth, or to home automation and ambient assisted living, where various type of sensors can monitor the condition of a private house (or a public buildings) for security or energy efficiency purposes.

However, the IoT is much more than just sensing; it’s about recollecting all this information being generated almost continuously throughout the world and making sense of all this vast streams of data. It’s about constructing new technologies that use this information to trigger new services, analytics and autonomous decision making in all sorts of domains. It’s also about the applications designed to use these new technologies. These emerging applications pose dramatic challenges for computer scientists, particularly because while the current ICT infrastructures allow thousands of intelligent devices to exchange data, there is still a strong urgent need for new methodologies and algorithms that allow such devices to effectively collaborate, and to support the human operators and the users in the complex decision-making problems they face.

In this perspective, the scope of FIoTA 2016 is twofold; to foster the use of computational techniques in the broad field of Artificial Intelligence to tackle such challenges taking, a significant step ahead in the practical deployment of the IoT, and to serve as a networking enabler that will aid in finding European-Mexican partners for future joint funding opportunities.

To this end, we are targeting academics, industrial partners and practitioners from areas such as planning, scheduling, machine learning, networks, multi-agent systems and other, to discuss the frontiers of current research in these fields and their application within the framework of the IoT.

What have been the recent developments in the IoT applications for Future Internet? What are the biggest challenges that this area is currently facing?

The recent developments of IoT for Future Internet are many and diverse. One of the most striking aspect of such applications is the incredible fast pace at which they emerge and grow. Key concepts such as cloud based data storage and computing, big data analytics, wireless sensor networks and even robotics are all deeply connected with IoT. Many of these concepts were, just few years ago, developed or investigated in research labs at universities or at various research centers. However, now there is a huge demand for this kind of applications and this is testified by the fact that most people know or have directly used technologies based on these concepts for their personal activities (for example think of e-book users that daily use cloud based storage to save their data).

This fast pace of development poses great challenges to the field. Some of the most compelling are the scale at which these systems must operate: these technologies must be able to work for thousands and thousands of devices, where such devices should be able to enter and leave the system at any time. Also the fact that such technology is deployed and has a clear market result in the use of these complex systems by non-expert users. Hence, the methodologies should be designed and centred around the user needs without imposing unnecessary cognitive stress on the user, but at the same time, always involving the user in important decisions.

What are your expectations for FIoTA 2016?

Within this context, the FIoTA 2016 conference will provide a unique opportunity to build a network of people with a common goal but extremely diverse background. The common goal will be the development of methodologies and computational approaches to face the dramatic challenges that the IoT is posing, and to do this we need people with diverse background ranging from computer and electronic engineering, computer science, maths, power systems, robotics and so forth. This will provide a great opportunity to significantly impact on the practical deployment of the IoT framework to new fields, boosting the development of research and industry in this new and exciting field.

Registration for AFI 360° Conference is open! Find out more.


On convergence of technology and citizen science

Takuro Yonezawa is a Research Assistant Professor at Keio University, Japan, and an expert in the fields of ubiquitous computing, sensor networks, human-computer interaction and urban sensing. He is also the General Chair of Urb-IoT 2016, the 2nd EAI International Conference on IoT in Urban Space, that will take place in Tokyo, Japan on May 24-25. We had the great pleasure to talk with Takuro about how IoT is getting ready to make its move to more general, daily activities in a city, after it has made its breakthrough in energy, security and safety.

Find out more about Urb-IoT 2016.

Insights Radio Spectrum

Listen-and-Talk: Enhancing Spectrum Usage by Full-Duplex Cognitive Radio

The existing and new wireless technologies, such as smart phones, tablets, and IoT apps are rapidly consuming radio spectrum. The traditional regulation of spectrum requires a fundamental reform in order to allow for more efficient and creative use of the precious airwave resources. Cognitive radio (CR) has been widely recognized as a promising technique to increase the efficiency of spectrum utilization. It allows the unlicensed secondary users (SUs) to coexist with the primary users (PUs) in licensed bands. The SUs are allowed to utilize only the unoccupied spectrum resource and leave it whenever the incumbent PUs are ready to transmit. Thus, reliable identification of the spectral holes in particular licensed frequency bands is required.

Current cognitive communication systems deploy the half-duplex (HD) radios to transmit and receive the signals by orthogonal resources. The SU communication is usually realized by the popular “Listen-before-Talk” (LBT) protocol, in which the SUs sense the target channel before transmission. Though the LBT protocol has been proved effective, it actually dissipates the precious resources by employing time-division duplexing, and thus, unavoidably suffers from two major problems: 1) transmit time decrease due to sensing, and 2) sensing accuracy impairment due to data transmission.

It would be desirable if the SUs can continuously sense the spectrum and meanwhile transmit when a spectrum hole is detected. This, however, seems impossible with the conventional half-duplex systems. A full-duplex (FD) system, where a node can send and receive the signals with the same time and frequency resources, offers the potential to achieve simultaneous sensing and transmission in CR systems. Specifically, SU can sense the target spectrum band in each time slot, judge if the band is occupied, and make decisions on whether to transmit data in the adjacent slot on the basis of the sensing result and access mechanism. As the FD technology enables to explore another dimension of the network resources in CR systems, it thus requires new designs of the network protocols, signal processing and resource allocation algorithms.

For example, one of the major challenges faced by FD-CR is how to deal with the residual self-interference issue in sensing process, beneath which lies a secondary transmit power optimization problem to maximize the system throughput. Another challenge is how to manage the resources in space, frequency, and device dimensions to improve the spectrum efficiency for the secondary network.

Further applications of FD-CR comprise many important scenarios, such as FD cognitive MIMO, FD cognitive relay, and FD cognitive access point, etc. All these present a new design paradigm for enhancing the spectrum usage for future wireless communications and networks.


eHealth needs more support from big data experts and state executives

Today we have the pleasure of bringing you an interview with Jonathan Steel. He is the head of a non-profit organisation called Deliver ChangeAirSensaTM – the largest air quality monitoring network in the world is one of many creations he and his team can be proud of. We asked him questions in relation to eHealth technologies as he is one of the keynote speakers at the eHealth 360° Summit in Budapest, Hungary (14-16 June, 2016).

Could you introduce the subject and scope of your keynote and the reasons why you chose it?

I am speaking about some of the opportunities for IoT and sensor technology used at scale in the health sector to save lives and save money.

eHealth is an extensive topic, encompassing many aspects of how technology can help deliver better healthcare, such as:
– how technology will enable us to meet spiraling demands on healthcare systems driven by population growth and ageing demographics;
– how we can meet those demands within a necessarily limited financial framework;
– harnessing technologies to scale limited specialist resources, whether that be by enabling remote healthcare, or by codifying specialist knowledge.

There are many existing and developing technologies being used to address these, and many other challenges, but most are still focused on treatment – how to provide better services to people that are already sick.

I will be talking about how sensor technologies can enable both early interventions and, critically for the future of affordable healthcare, preventative action.

A significant proportion of expenditure in the health industry is potentially avoidable: preventable illnesses, disconnects at the point of provision, and non-compliance in treatment regimens are just three examples.  This is where sensor-based technologies – fixed networks, in-home care monitoring, wearables, etc. – can play a major part.  Sensor technologies deployed correctly can achieve two very desirable outcomes for the health sector – saving lives, and saving money.

Johnatan Steel
Jonathan Steel, CEO of Deliver Change Ltd.

What do you see as the biggest challenge that eHealth is currently facing?

There are multiple challenges, but perhaps the greatest challenge is around data – its availability, application, and exploitation (not to mention security & privacy).

The advent of ‘big data’ was supposed to provide opportunities across the spectrum of many industries, from targeted marketing to smart cities and all points in between.  The reality however is that most current IT systems are in some way broken; data structures are also diverse and lack suitable metadata, undermining the ability of organisations to reliably merge multiple data sources.  And even when data are reliably available, there is a yawning skills gap in systemic thinking and data science capabilities, making the effective use of massive data resources a challenge.

What does your work bring to the table in the eHealth area?

My organisation is concerned with building large, scalable IoT systems, using a variety of multi-sensor equipment to enable monitoring and measurement of key personal, structural and environmental data.  Building such systems is non-trivial – scaling large automated and self-healing networks and the underlying software platforms, for example, requires the solution of multiple challenges.

We create mostly white-label solutions for large partners, who have significant customer bases and need to deploy innovative IoT solutions quickly and reliably.  One example, deployed through the organisation I am representing today, Deliver Change, is the AirSensa network, which is achieving what so many others have tried (or are trying) to achieve – large-scale dense air quality sensor networks, generating real-time, continuous, granular data to power pollution avoidance and mitigation strategies.

What are your hopes and dreams for the future of eHealth?

I hope that those responsible for long-term planning for the health systems of European countries truly try to understand the capabilities of new and emerging technologies and their potentially achievable outcomes – and also how to scale IT (and IoT) deployments successfully.

There are some strong examples of service innovation already in the market; Artificial Intelligence (like IBM’s Watson) are enabling rapid advances in diagnostic support for example.  Combined with remote and automated early alert sensor-based systems that anticipate and help to prevent life-changing (and expensive) medical treatments, we have an opportunity to transform the way we do, and experience, many aspects of medicine in the future.

Registration for eHealth 360° Summit 2016 is open! Find out more.

Call for participation Conferences News

Only a week until the 19th ICIN conference

Innovation in Clouds, Internet and Networks (ICIN) is recognized as one of the world’s leading conferences in the Telecoms domain and has a track record of attracting the best experts from all sectors of the ICT industry and academia, with high quality presentations and discussions, on Virtualization, SDN, 5G, PaaS, Big Data, Real-Time Communications and Internet of Things. The 2016 edition will take place in Paris, 1-3 March.

Keynote speakers are all well-known and recognized leaders of our domain:

Marcus Weldon
Marcus Weldon, President of Bell Labs and Corporate Chief Technology Officer Nokia, USA

As President of Bell Labs and Corporate Chief Technology Officer, Marcus Weldon is responsible for coordinating the technical strategy across the company and driving technological and architectural innovations into the portfolio. Marcus holds a BSc. in Chemistry and Computer Science from King’s College, London, and a PhD. degree in Physical Chemistry from Harvard University. In 1995, he joined the Physics Division at AT&T Bell Labs as a post-doctoral researcher, before becoming a Member of Technical Staff in the Optical Materials Division, where he won a series of scientific and engineering society awards.

Ina Minei
Network Architect Google, USA

Prior to Google, Ina Minei worked at Juniper Networks as a distinguished engineer in the office of CTO, exploring SDN applications in mobile and enterprise. Before that she was director of IP and MPLS development, delivering next generation network technologies. Ina started her career at Juniper as a network protocols developer, with focus on MPLS protocols and applications, traffic engineering and network convergence and prior to that she worked at Cisco on the development of a next generation router operating system.

Volker Ziegler
Volker Ziegler, Chief Architect, Technology and Innovation Nokia Networks, Germany

Volker Ziegler serves as Chief Architect of Nokia Networks. He leads and owns the long term Nokia Networks e2e architecture; steers and leverages architectural development cycle for sustainable and innovation led growth and competitive differentiation; ensures that Nokia Networks e2e architecture evolves in step with Nokia top customers. Volker has more than 20 years of Telco and IT industry experience and has an excellent understanding of both Technology and Business.

Raouf Boutaba
Raouf Boutaba, Professor at University of Waterloo IEEE fellow, Canada

Raouf Boutaba is a Professor with the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, University of Waterloo, Canada. His research interests are in resource, network and service management in wired and wireless networked systems with a current focus on network virtualization, cloud computing and information centric networking. For his contributions, Dr. Boutaba received several recognitions. He received the Harold Sobol Award from the IEEE Communications Society in 2007, the IFIP Silver Core in 2007, the IEEE Communications Society Joseph LoCicero Award in 2009.

Nicolas Demassieux
Nicolas Demassieux, Senior Vice President Research, Orange Labs Orange, France

Nicolas Demassieux leads the research of Orange Labs: defining the research strategy and coordinating major research initiatives involving 700+ engineers and PhD students in multiple countries, and impulsing an active policy of research partnerships with SMEs/start-ups, large enterprises and universities. He published more than 40 papers and book chapters and holds several patents. He his passionate about innovation and R&D efficiency issues. Externally to his professional activity, he is interested in a large set of science domains, including: complexity, biology, evolution and paleontology, natural and artificial ecosystems, urbanism of digital life.

Some invited papers will complete the technical program on important trends of our industry, like cooperation between network and endpoints (Brian Trammell, IETF IAB & ETH Zurich), SDN/NFV for intelligent edges (Andreas Gladisch, VP convergent networks, Deutsche Telekom Labs) and 5G challenges and way forward (Dirk Kutscher, NEC Labs).

The technical program (25% selection rate) is organized around 4 main tracks, chaired by world-renowned researchers:

  • Network IT-isation and 5G, chaired by Prosper Chemouil (Orange Labs, France);
  • Big data insights for networking, chaired by Françoise Soulie (Tianjin University, China);
  • Real-time communication platforms and services, chaired by Axel Küpper (TU Berlin and Deutsche Telekom, Germany);
  • Internet of Things, chaired by Payam Barnaghi (University of Surrey, UK).

A special session on digital platforms economics and regulation will provide a complementary business viewpoint on the ongoing transformations of the Telecom world. In addition, ICIN will host the first workshop on Green Communications Systems, included in your registration.

Only a week until ICIN 2016 – Register here.
Call for papers Conferences

DLI 2016: Call for Workshops!

DLI 2016, the 1st EAI International Conference on Design, Learning & Innovation will take place in Esbjerg, Denmark on May 2-4, 2016.

A main objective of the workshops and panels/symposiums is to foster discussions and exchanges between different stakeholder groups and to encourage collaboration between the different research and practice fields related to design, learning, and innovation contributing to the creation, shaping, and incubation of playful learning designs, tools, technologies, experiences, processes and outcomes.

Presentations delivered during the workshops are based on papers that have been selected through peer- review process. Accepted workshop papers are included in the Conference Proceedings. Best workshop paper publications may be included in various Transactions or other journals.

Important dates:

Workshops Proposal Deadline: 6th January, 2016

Full Paper Submission Deadline: 6th January, 2016

Notification Deadline: 15th January, 2016

Camera-ready deadline: 5th February, 2016

If you need further information, visit the conference official website.


Aim high with Smart City 360° Summit

When we talk about the cities of the future we talk about Smart Cities. But what is the meaning behind the attribute? What does it mean for a city to be smart? On the pathway towards Innovation, an action seems to be the key of success: Networking.

Smart cities imply smart communities, which are the real engine of the social and economic growth in Europe.

Let’s say it through the voices of the participants in the Smart City 360° Summit 2015, which took place last October in Bratislava and Toronto.

Eager to know detailed info about the event? Visit the official website and read our report here.



Internet of Things and Innovation at IoT 360°

What is all this talking about the Internet of Things? And why do we hear such words as revolution, innovation and networking connected to the IoT?

Let’s listen to the voices of the top experts in the field, who met in Rome last October to realize one of the most impacting international event about the Internet of Things, the IoT 360° Summit.

Interested in getting more info about? Visit the official website and read our report here.