Data Fusion

I first came across applications for data fusion at a small start-up company that did contract work for CSIS and the RCMP. Military organizations have been using the technology for years but there have not been real applications for it in the commercial sector. Data fusion is the process of putting pieces of data together where the total produces something greater than the sum. No I did not fail math class, an example of data fusion would be listening to the rotors of a helicopter, comparing it to the image from a radar scan and the output from a camera to determine if it is friend or foe.

Well what if you could attach blue tooth sensors to you car so that you could process the input from microphones, sonic measurement devices, the speed data from your car computer (ODBII) and the video from your cell phone to predict a collision. The data analysis could tell you where to steer to avoid a collision, tell you if the road was icy and upload data to a cloud based server so that other cars running the same app would be advised.

Listening to my fridge hum as I type tells me that it won’t be long before the compressor will fail, seeing the plant move in the breeze from the air conditioning vents tells me that the air conditioner is on (But only because I know it’s not cold enough for heat). By fusing video data, audio data and data from other sources we can produce reliable systems to solve problems that single technologies could not.

I checked in the app-store and believe it or not, there is no app for this!!! The i-phone (and android devices) have cameras, microphones, network connections, GPS and many other sensors that when fused together could do things that people have not thought of yet.

The iPhone does not have a temperature sensor so it would not be able to tell if there might be ice on the way home but with a network connection, GPS and input from the microphone, it doesn’t need a sensor all it has to do is listen for my teeth chattering. The devices we carry have many of our senses and a brain that in many cases exceeds the processing of our own brain. If we add a bit of magic, who knows what could happen.

It’s Friday and you have the whole weekend to think about putting things together to make things better. Send me you ideas…

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