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Intel's Rapid Prototyping Group has been working on technologies in the field of machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. On Monday, at its Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, the chipmaker gave ZDNet UK a look at some of the results, including a throwable sensor for firefighters, a device for studying water quality, and a module for monitoring the stability of large structures such as oil rigs.
The prototype Fireball throwable sensor (pictured) is able to monitor air quality by studying the levels of specific gases in the air around it — ammonia, nitrogen, oxygen and carbon dioxide — along with the air temperature. Data from the sensor is sent to a server located in the fire engine, and then sent on to smartphones and other devices that display the information to the firefighters. Multiple sensors can be used at once and their data aggregated and browsed.
The Fireball is due to go into trials with a US-based fire department soon, according to Intel senior principal engineer Terry O'Shea. The device took six weeks to make, he said.
In the next generation of the device, the Fireball will be able to feed its location back to the server. This will be done via radio triangulation between the separate fireballs and their main receiver on the fire engine, O'Shea said.
Weight-wise, the device felt about as heavy as a 500g bag of sugar.
Photo credit: Jack Clark