#5: Monitoring the Monitors

Imagine a world where your every move, heartbeat, body temperature change and sleep is tracked by an intricate network of activity monitors. In this episode we talk about the wearable world of activity monitors, which live at the intersection of health and the Internet of Things.

Sensors in activity monitors

  • Accelerometer — G-force acceleration
  • Gyroscope — Rotation
  • Compass — Orientation
  • GPS — Location
  • Altimeter — Altitude

Activity monitors

[table colalign=”left|center|center|center|left”]
Fitbit ($89-$130),Yes,No,Yes,Stairs
Basis ($199),Yes,No,Yes,Heart Rate
Withings Pulse,Yes,No,Yes,Distance\, Heart Rate
Jawbone Up ($100),Yes,No,Yes,Alarms
Nike Fuelband ($149),Yes,Yes,Yes,Goals
Misfit Shine,Yes,Yes,Yes,Waterproof
Garmin Vivofit ($130-$170),Yes,Yes,Yes,GPS
BodyMedia Fit ($89),Yes,Yes,Yes,Temp
Striiv Play ($40),Yes,Yes,No,Stairs
Fitbug Orb ($50),Yes,Yes,Yes,Distance

More fashionable activity monitors

“Wearable” clothing (activity monitoring clothing)

Other fun diversions in this category

  • Whistle — The dog activity monitor
  • Google Glass — Come on! You know this will show up on lots of lists!
  • Notch — 10 sensors for athletic training
  • Tao Wellshell — Isometric device, pitting your muscles against themselves
  • Beddit — Sleep monitor for your bed, just slip it under your sheets
  • Trace — The ultimate for Surfers, Skateboarders, Skiers and Snowboarders
  • Empatica — Real-time stress monitor

Episode topics

  • Apple and iWatch and Healthbook, oh my
  • The possibility of privatized EHRs (electronic health records)
  • The Apple iWatch: It’s not a thing yet™!
  • What is the Internet of Things, again?
  • Gamification
  • Fashionable wearables
  • What’s in these things anyway? (See “What’s in activity monitors?”)
  • Accuracy (a.k.a. “truth devices”, a.k.a. how do they test these things?)
  • The smarts is in the software
  • “Wearable clothing”
  • Smart socks
  • Prescribing the Internet of Things
  • Implications for sports, including board sports
  • IoT-based scoring

#4: What Happens When Things Can Think?

What’s the likelihood that our network of Internet of Things will exceed our own human intellect? What would this mean for the rights of robots? Join us for a fun discussion involving some of our favorite fictional robots, and speculation about what the world would look like with a society that includes incredibly intelligent creatures of our own making.

Shows and characters we mention:

We talk about:

  • What is “The Singularity”?
  • Sentient Roombas
  • But will it have Scarlett Johansson’s voice?
  • Robot civil rights
  • My Siri and your Siri
  • “I wanna see that movie!”
  • The robot version of X-Men
  • Analogy with other civil rights movenents
  • Why Will Smith gotta be mean to robots?
  • “Doing almost nothing all of the time”
  • Hoping Watson stays on our side
  • Capping AI skill levels
  • Robot labor party!
  • Paying people to be your friend
  • Virtual pop stars vs. meatspace pop stars: Fight!
  • “Well I think that you wouldn’t want a used one”
  • Dogs vs. Furbys

Enjoy! We’d appreciate it if you could help us get the word out about Farstuff by sharing your thoughts on the podcast to your social media network(s) of choice.

#3: Core IoT Standards Overview

This episode is our first about standards, and in this episode we focus on standards shared with the “I” in the Internet of Things.

  • IoT standards start with internet and web standards
  • Proprietary ecosystems will have an early advantage
  • Big companies and standards: “It’s complicated”
  • “Standards are like an endlessly-layered cake”
  • IP: “Best effort” (a.k.a. unreliable) packet delivery
  • TCP: Reliable, ordered and error-checked delivery of info
  • UDP: “Spray and pray”
  • REST: A de facto standard for talking to services
  • How toasters will talk
  • Wireless protocols
  • Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth
  • 4G (and 3G, and 2.5G…)
  • Home automation standards
  • “The wiggle-waggle dance of honeybees”


#2: IoT at CES 2014 Roundup

This week we’ve got a CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2014 roundup at the Internet of Things rodeo! YEEEE-HAH! We diverge wildly along the way, so we end up talking about interesting stuff other than just IoT products.

Remember the official Farscape definition of the IoT from our first podcast: The Internet of Things is the ecosystem that results in a world where “things” compute, connect and communicate.

In this episode we talk about…

  • Creepy toothbrushes
  • Revolv
  • DoorBot
  • Hybrid power solutions
  • Do people care about controlling appliances from their smartphone?
  • Trough of disappointment” (Gartner Hype Cycle)
  • Analysts project 50 billion internet connected devices by 2050
  • House of Coates (tweeting house)
  • SmartWaste™
  • FTC Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen and “regulatory humility”
  • They see you when you’re sleeping / they knows when you’re awake…
  • Government regulations for security and privacy?

We hope you enjoy! Send complaints and kudos to [email protected].


#1: What is the Internet of Things?

Welcome to Episode 1 of Farstuff: The Internet of Things podcast!

Join us as we explore this new iteration of the Internet, stretching beyond just our immediate screens and creating a hyper-connected world. What are the ramifications and benefits of this brave new world? How will we establish standards and the infrastructure to make this vision sustainable? Are their concerns with privacy and security?


  • It’s a bit dated, but we found “The Internet of Things” article by Michael Chui, Markus Löffler, and Roger Roberts of McKinsey & Company to be helpful when coming up with our own definition.
  • Wikipedia’s entry has some alternative definition for the Internet of Things. At the time this was written, the entry is a bit scattered and could use the love of an editor who knows what they’re talking about.


The podcast for makers and fans of the Internet of Things