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Chicago deploys computers with eyes, ears and noses

Patrick Thibodeau | Sept. 5, 2016
The effort may be the most extensive urban IoT deployment of its kind

The National Science Foundation provided $3.1 million and about $2 million was spent on research and development to create the base platform. Cost sharing involing the city and industry partners brings the entire project investment into the $6-to-$7 million range, said Catlett. The entire installation will be completed in 2018.

The processing on the device means that data from the photos can be gathered and transmitted and the photo itself deleted. The monthly transmission, per device, is expected to be about one gigabyte over a cellular network, said Catlett.

The on-board processing also protects privacy, said Catlett, which was one of the concerns the project sought to address. Although all of the data will go to a cloud-based server, a sampling of photos used for baseline analysis will be sent a University of Chicago-based server. The university was awarded the NSF grant.

The device will shut down in extreme weather, although the heat generated by a four-core Arm processor and a Samsung processor used in cell phones will provide some protection in extreme cold, said Catlett.

Although cities are deploying sensors in urban environments, Catlett said he is unaware of anything as extensive as what's going on in Chicago.

"I've yet to talk to anyone from any city who feels that they have adequate information about even the simple things," said Catlett.


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