I recently had the pleasure of talking to Priyanka Bagade about a really interesting project that she created – the Intelligent Infrastructure for Smart Cities demo. This demo focuses on how to build a smart infrastructure system enabled by Intel gateways and the GE Predix cloud by leveraging existing infrastructure in a city. If you want to watch that interview you can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKM2NZWYFn0
The central idea behind the demo is that we can make our cities smarter by retrofitting existing infrastructure by interfacing it with an Intel powered gateway. Priyanka modeled two common infrastructure elements present in most cities. The first are induction sensors under roads which are used to let steer lights know there is a car in the intersection, the second being traffic cameras.
The induction sensors were modeled by using Grove hall effect sensors under the road – the model cars each have a magnet in the base to set off the hall effect sensor. The traffic camera was modeled using a webcam. These infrastructure elements were connected to an Intel i5 powered NUC gateway.
The hall effect sensors counted the number of cars that passed through the intersection, recording it locally on the gateway. The webcam image was processed on the gateway using OpenCV, pulling out real time traffic speed data from the image. OpenCV is an open source computer vision framework originally developed at Intel in 2000 but has since then become the standard in open source computer vision software.
Once the data is collected locally it is displayed using a custom web interface and sent to GE Predix cloud securely via Predix Machine. The Predix Analytics service uses this data for historical analysis supporting traffic management in the city as well as predictive management of the smart infrastructure. Transportation is one use case but the applications of the data are endless; including areas like smart parking, pedestrian safety and environmental planning.
Overall this demo really shows the power of using existing technologies in new and creative ways, and also the power that comes from combining edge compute with cloud compute in a single application.