An Open Source Hardware Sensor Network for the Rest of Us

Accepted Session
Short Form
Scheduled: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 from 3:45 – 4:30pm in B302/303


The physical world contains huge amounts of data that are underutilized by most people. The vision is to build a sensor network platform that can act as a hardware extension to a person’s identity — importing data about their environment, activities, energy/resource usage, and others into a personal data locker.


Every middle-class, non-technical household in the world, including the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) households — as well as small-scale farms and urban homesteading environments should be able to afford and install small open-source hardware sensor networks that allow them to do one or more of the following:

  • Monitor and manage their resource usage (water, electricity, gas)
  • Monitor and manage the quality of life in their location (air quality, security, CO sensors, smoke detectors, etc.)
  • Monitor and manage themselves (pedometers, sleep monitors)
  • Monitor and manage their transportation usage (automobile usage, bike riding distance)
  • Build or purchase more specialized sensors as applicable

As importantly, these devices should:

  • Aggregate and store the information securely and privately on behalf of the data owner
  • Make this information accessible and useful, so the data owner can be informed and empowered to better themselves in whatever way they see appropriate

There are many proprietary products currently available that do small portions of this, but their data are often siloed, have difficult or non-existent APIs to fetch the data captured, and are sold at a premium cost — out of reach of most of the target market.

In this talk we’ll discuss the details of the hardware and software architecture of this project, how it’s now possible to finally bring sensor networks to the masses at scale, and why we need a platform like this.

Speaking experience

FUSE/Progress Apache Community Day presenter, 2010
Instructor, University of Nevada, Reno - 2010, 2011


  • About eric reasonably small


    For 15 years, Eric has had a deep fascination with hacking hardware, software, music, the brain, and the agora.

    He currently splits his time between helping to build the Locker Project and TeleHash for Singly, and getting real-world sensor data into the hands of those it can most help. He is a TechStars NYC Winter 2011 alumnus. In love with the connection between software, hardware, people, and the environment in which they live, he has an unusual crush on microcontrollers, Erlang, urban homesteading and permaculture.