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Are You Still Searching for a Parking Spot?

Not sure about you, but Dino clearly remembers the days when he used to circle the city or large parking lots for a spot close to his destination. At every turn into a new lane, he would pray “Please God, may there be a parking spot here…” Eventually, his good karma would kick-in and he would find a spot.

Thanks to high-tech, finding a parking spot is going to get a lot easier. According to a recent article in the NYTimes, “This fall, San Francisco will test 6,000 of its 24,000 metered parking spaces in the nation’s most ambitious trial of a wireless sensor network that will announce which of the spaces are free at any moment.”

A 4x4” inch sensor, called a “Bump” is glued to the ground and senses once a car has arrived and departed. It then sends a signal to a central database that notifies drivers through the web or a smartphone about empty spots in the area. The “Bump” is battery operated and expected to last from 5 to 10 years without service – assuming that it has been run-over more than a hundred times by the cars trying to park.

The technology behind this innovation is called ‘Smart Dust’. Basically, it’s a tiny, low-powered wireless sensor that detects other sensors within its distribution network, and sends the data back to the centralized server for analysis. Smart Dust can detect motion, humidity, light, CO2 levels, or anything thing else worth sensing. Imagine the possibilities of this – detection of bio-hazards, forest fires, parking spots, or even detecting your vital signs such as your temperature, heart-beat or blood pressure.

Fascinating? Yes, and this is just the beginning!


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