During Google I/O this week, visitors to the Moscone Center will have their every movement tracked, but it's not as creepy as it sounds. Google's Cloud Platform Developer Relations team is spearheading a project called the Data Sensing Lab, which utilizes a network of Arduino sensors to collect ambient data and translate it into easily understood visualizations. Fluctuations in temperature, air quality and humidity will be recorded along with noise levels and foot traffic to provide a real-time breakdown of activity within the Moscone Center. The information from the Data Sensing Lab will then be displayed on a number of screens scattered around the conference floor.
The Data Sensing Lab is the next step in Google's quest to master environmental data collection after absorbing the team behind Behavio last month. Developer Programs Engineer Michael Manoochehri admits that the plan is "kind of futuristic, and maybe a little crazy," but emphasizes the practical uses for real-time environmental analytics. For example, information about air quality fluctuations can be monitored to adjust a room's temperature and footstep counters can provide valuable insight into which areas are most popular. In the spirit of open innovation, Google promises to make the Cloud Platform code, the Arduino sensor designs and the collected data available online after the conference. Big Brother might be watching, but at least we'll be able to watch right along with him.