What are Smart Objects?

A smart object has four key attributes: it is small, and thus easy to attach to almost anything; it has a unique identifier; it has a small store of data or information; and it has a way to communicate that information to an external device on demand. Objects that carry information with them have long been used for the monitoring of sensitive equipment or materials, point-of-sale purchases, passport tracking, inventory management, identification, and similar applications. Smart objects are the next generation of those technologies — they “know” about a certain kind of information, such as cost, age, temperature, color, pressure, or humidity — and can pass that information along easily and instantly. Smart objects connect the physical world with the world of information; it is that linkage that will enable the “Internet of Things” described by Vint Cerf. They can be used to digitally manage physical objects, monitor their status, track them throughout their lifespan, alert someone when they are in danger of being damaged or spoiled — or even to annotate them with descriptions, instructions, warranties, tutorials, photographs, connections to other objects, and any other kind of contextual information imaginable.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • Creating smart and connected classrooms - equipment, learning resources connected, even books self issued from libraries, understanding interconnectedness of the classroom, smart buildings, registers and NFC.- DaveP DaveP Nov 20, 2011
  • another response here

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • I can't help but wonder if this page were called "Internet of Things" if it would have gotten more attention. The IoT concept is such an important one, and one that we're only beginning to be able to really think about. I just learned about a new thermostat that can tell if people are in the room and adjust accordingly, allow you to make changes via smartphone from a distance, and learn your preferences over time so that it anticipates your expectations. That's really progressive, and yet, it's a thermostat. When any item has metadata that can be known by the network, and communicate new metadata it receives, we will essentially have an entire new web--and all the innovation that will come with it. - lauren.pressley lauren.pressley Nov 19, 2011
  • Artificial intelligence and IofT- DaveP DaveP Nov 20, 2011

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative expression?

  • Thinking about education, you can imagine library books telling you via whatever mod you prefer they're due back, smartboards automatically registering computers that are present and allowing quick switching between monitors, instant polling between all smartphones (or other devices) in a classroom, etc. - lauren.pressley lauren.pressley Nov 19, 2011
  • another response here

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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