Mesh Your Ride

 Posted by at 1:48 pm  Gadgets, Work
Dec 052008
 

This Live Mesh enabled car-putermay be old news to some, but it just popped up on my radar:  Ori Amiga, frustrated with the lack of truely usable and connected smart devices in the automotive market, built his own custom touchscreen PC console for his Porsche.  It’s a full-on PC running Vista and loaded up with GPS, WiFI, BlueTooth, cell phone 3G networking, and just about everything else you can think of. 

That’s kinda neat as gizmos go, but not really earth shattering. 

Then Ori worked on software to make that “carputer” mesh-aware, connecting to his mesh data in Live Mesh.  If he drops MP3s into a mesh folder on his PC at the office, it will show up in his playlist in his car, ready to play on the road.  While he’s driving, the GPS-enabled unit can write GPS tracks into a mesh object, which can be read by family or friends (whoever he’s given access to read that private mesh object) to see where he is or how late he’ll be arriving. 

Ok, that’s a bit more interesting.

Here’s the kicker:  While he did have to write some code for the carputer to move data between the devices built into the carputer and objects in his mesh using the Live Framework SDK, none of the code he wrote ever opens a network connection.  All the network data transfer is handled in the background by Live Mesh’s automatic data sync.  The code on the carputer reads and writes data in the local mesh running on the carputer, and the local mesh client handles synchronizing data changes to and from the cloud mesh whenever the car has a network connection via WiFi, WiMax, cellphone or whatever.

Now *that’s* cool. 

That’s what mesh is all about, and shows another example of why the local client is so important as a game-changing facilitator.  Your mesh-enabled web apps and mesh-aware desktop apps or cloud services don’t have to think in terms of dealing with network connections across unreliable or occasionally connected networks.  They just need to think in terms of data handling and change notifications.

Channel9 did a video segment with Ori about his meshmobile (“mesh-mo-beel”) project back in October.  There’s a lot of talking heads airtime through most of the video (which has some great info) but they finally get around to showing the goods at the end of the clip.  If you want to see the demo before investing time in the chitchat, skip ahead to about 18:30. 

Oh, and by the way - Ori Amiga is Principal Group Program Manager of the Live Developer Platform team (the developer side of Live Mesh).  It’s good to see the leadership having fun with the technology after hours.  Passion rocks.

  2 Responses to “Mesh Your Ride”

  1. Very cool, but… Bootup time? When I power up my ride (which admittedly cannot go past 245 kph) I immediately press ‘play’ and “Start Me Up” pours out of the speakers. This is using old-school technology involving shiny discs and physical buttons. I can even quickly change discs by juggling the two discs with my hands while steering the car using my nose.

    As much as I like Vista (which makes me somewhat of a minority), I doubt anyone can make that thing power up instantly. I am aware of some efforts that are essentially based on powersaving, but even then there is a very noticable lag.

    Of course, what Ori Amiga has is “only” a prototype, and from the looks of it: A darn good one.

    Very cool.

  2. Hi Rune,

    My laptop resumes from sleep mode in less than 2 seconds – much faster than my 3 year old smartphone! I think startup time is a solvable issue with the right system tuning.

    I’d expect an embedded device like a carputer would be engineered for fast startup, probably from a suspended state. Note that Ori’s prototype is built around an off-the-shelf mini PC. It has not been engineered or optimized at the hardware level for embedded operations like this.

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