Emerging Technology

The “internet of things” is coming, says Contiki creator Adam Dunkels

Andrew Sadauskas /

Contiki creator Adam Dunkels has outlined his vision for an “internet of things” in a recent interview with TechWorld.

The internet of things concept refers to the idea that low-powered microprocessors and sensors could be embedded in objects in order to feed real-time data into datacentres, which in turn could be used in mobile apps or online services.

For example, sections of road could be embedded with small computers that count the number of cars passing per minute, with the information fed in real time to online mapping services such as Google Maps.

The Contiki operating system was originally developed to allow outdated Commodore 64 computers to connect to the internet, as a proof-of-concept of the viability of small, low-cost, low-power processors feeding data into the internet.

“Ultimately, the internet of things is about making the simple things in life a little simpler,” says Dunkels.

“For example, when waking up a on a summer day, wouldn’t it be nice to have an app that tells you what beach is sunniest? The internet of things allows us to build such apps: Apps that make the real world a little more like the internet.”

“The internet of things builds on a range of technologies: Low-power radios, routing protocols, sleek software. One key enabler has been the standardisation the Internet Protocol to cover new low-power wireless devices.”

“This allows items, environments, places, and devices to be directly connected to the Internet and exchange information. Both obtaining information from the internet, for example to better control heating and lighting, and pushing information to the internet; for example providing information of where people are moving around in a city.”

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Andrew Sadauskas

Andrew Sadauskas is a former journalist at SmartCompany and a former editor of TechCompany.

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