Google to use open-source sensors to monitor I/O conference

Google is distributing hundreds of environmental sensors across the Moscone Centre in San Francisco to monitor everything from footsteps to air quality.
Written by Sam Shead, Contributor

Google will literally track the footsteps of developers attending the annual Google I/O conference in San Francisco this week as part of an effort to understand how visitors navigate and behave at the event.

The Google Cloud Platform Development Relations team announced in a blogpost on Monday that it is running an experiment with O'Reilly Data Sensing Lab, which will see hundreds of Arduino-based environmental sensors deployed across the Moscone Centre to monitor what is going on at all times.

The open-source sensors will work with software based on the Google Cloud Platform to record real-time information on temperature, humidity and air quality. The system will also record noise levels and footsteps to understand where people are in the conference centre.

Google Arduiono sensor
Google is using hundreds of open-source sensors to record conditions at the annual I/O conference (Photo: Google)

The Arduino hardware designs and the information collected during the conference will be available online when the conference has finished.

The results of the experiment could impact the way that conferences and corporate events are run as they could highlight which parts of the conference were busy and which parts generated little interest.

"Networked sensor technology is in the early stages of revolutionising business logistics, city planning, and consumer products," writes blogpost author and Google developer programs engineer Michael Manoochehri. "We are looking forward to sharing the Data Sensing Lab with Google I/O attendees, because we want to show how using open hardware together with the Google Cloud Platform can make this technology accessible to anyone."

Google I/O runs from May 15 to May 17 and will be attended by those that managed to get a $900 (£590) ticket before they sold out, less than one hour after going on sale.

Some of the major announcements made at last year's event included Google Glassthe Nexus 7 and Android 4.1(Jelly Bean).

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