Not all that long ago deploying a diverse set of sensors was an expensive, often proprietary, commercial endeavor with limited reach. Today, the game has changed and sensor networks have become an increasingly omnipresent part of the world around us.
Dramatic reductions in component costs and ubiquitous access alternative hardware supply chains have catalyzed global DIY community innovation in this space. Anyone with access to Amazon, GitHub, Substack, and perhaps a 3D printer can create integrated systems of low-cost hardware, Open Source software, and lightweight machine learning models to collect a wide range of data.
These may be 80% solutions compared to state-of-the-art commercial products, but they are a fraction of the cost, robust, and increasingly making autonomous decisions about what data is of value – all while unlocking new possibilities of what can be monitored. Cameras can now count objects instead of capturing images. Road sensors can weigh trucks instead of just measuring vibrations. Every signal from a mobile phone can be parsed to the nth degree.
It is an evolution completely transforming the way we measure and understand both ourselves, and the wider world around us. As a team, we are continually exploring the ramifications of this shift in our environment.