The IoT at school and at the CES in Las Vegas

Almost a year ago, my colleague Christian introduced “Quantified Art”, a project by the Bosch IoT Lab at the University of St. Gallen.

Since then, Paul Rigger, a PhD student in the Bosch Lab, has devoted himself to pushing this project forward. The idea is more or less the same: Quantified Art uses artwork to visualize room climate. But we experimented with the way it does so – making people aware of changes in the room climate by altering the color and texture of a picture, displaying icons, or even using speech bubbles. Ideas were proposed – and dropped – at a fast pace, until we found a promising setting we could test on a larger scale.

Who needs information about room climate? People at home? Office workers in cubicles or conference rooms? While pondering the experimental setup, Paul realized that the ideal setting for a field test would be a school. Students spend a lot of time in their classrooms and they need the best possible conditions to learn efficiently and stay healthy.

Paul approached the school he graduated from some ten years ago, and the school’s headmaster, Markus Germann, was very interested in the project. With his support, we installed ten prototypes in classrooms and ran an initial experiment in the summer of 2014. Multiple experiments have been conducted since then with the goal of refining the prototype, so that the students can have maximum fun with the device while improving their room climate over the long run. Today, a second experiment with improved experimental design is underway at the grammar school in Dornbirn, Austria.

The project drew a lot of attention over the past year within Bosch as well. We frequently used it to present what the Bosch IoT Lab does and how we work. Word about Quantified Art also reached our colleagues at Bosch Sensortec. They develop microelectromechanical sensors (MEMS), a key technology in smart devices (Bosch sensors are found in half of all smartphones worldwide) and also when it comes to connecting things over the internet. Bosch Sensortec recently introduced a new sensor, the BME680, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The BME680 is capable of measuring pressure, temperature, and humidity in addition to volatile organic compounds (VOC) in the air. The BME680 sensor is therefore perfect for the Quantified Art project. A sensor like this has plenty of potential applications in the IoT world, but Quantified Art was chosen as an exciting way to showcase the new sensor at the CES.

For the Bosch IoT Lab, the CES was a fantastic opportunity to get even more feedback on our idea. This feedback should fuel the discussion on whether to bring this project to the market, and if so, how.

How and where would you use Paul’s idea? At home? At work? Somewhere else? What artwork would be in your frame?

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About the author

Markus Weinberger

Markus Weinberger

I am Professor for “Internet of Things” at Aalen University. Before I have been Director of the Bosch Internet of Things & Services Lab at the University of St. Gallen. During the almost 15 years at Bosch I gained experience in such different fields as driver assistance systems, internal auditing and engineering services. I had the opportunity to work in areas like ergonomics, calibration of electronic control units, project management, process management and Enterprise 2.0. I hold a Ph.D. in Engineering from the Technische Universität München. I studied mechanical engineering in Munich and Trondheim, Norway.