New York University professor Rob Faludi envisions a world of sociable objects that share information with each other and with people. He offers as an example of a sociable object a smoke detector that can communicate with a toaster when it detects the presence of particulate matter in the air, checking to see if the toaster is activated before sounding the alarm. Faludi says that this scenario is achievable thanks to the cost of low-power radio networking and the funding of smart home energy networks.
Faludi describes a mesh network as "a collection of devices that are all connected to each other both directly and indirectly. Any one device can act as both a node and a router for other nodes. Together, the devices create a robust communications structure, one that adapts fluidly when a new device enters the network or another one is removed or fails." Faludi says the mesh networking scheme is outstanding for assembling flexible and robust local networks, and it is a key component of a pilot project that seeks to examine how customers of the Cape Light Compact energy services organization respond to real-time information about electricity consumption and how their conservation actions are affected by being part of a community network. "This is a great example of how objects and networks can have a real impact on not just individuals' lives, but on the way we impact the world as a whole," he says.
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