A startup company, largely funded by Mike Lazaridis, co founder of BlackBerry Ltd has developed new hardware Amera that identifies wireless signals from routers, smartphones, cell towers and other wireless devices. Quantum Valley Investments technology fund was created in 2013 by Lazardis and colleague Doug Fregin. The fund has committed $100 million to develop the next generation of applications involved with quantum computers, and one of the first investments made, was in the wireless technology startup Cognitive Systems Corporation.
Amera has been more than 18 months in development, and is now ready for more advance uses that may eventually dramatically change the way in which the wireless spectrum is used. Wireless signals are be proliferating invisibly all around us. Data is being continuously transferred between devices, however, Amera promises that we will now be able to sense these signals and be alerted to unwanted intruders, networks, or devices. In much the same manner, in which light is detected, wireless transmissions are also part of the electromagnetic radiation spectrum and can also be detected, and the intent is to use those signals .
Cognitive, with headquarters near the original Blackberry building in Waterloo, Ont was actually developed by three veterans of BlackBerry. Co-founder Taj Manku, CEO Hugh Hind and Oleksiy Kravets, They excitedly say that Cognitive Systems is now prepared to launch its custom-designed hardware. The Amera will include a proprietary chip, its own cloud-computing system for data processing, and its own software platform for building apps. A development kit, and access to the software can be expected as expansion for use in other industries continues into 2016.
The algorithms that Cognitive has developed enable the visual resolution of radio frequency fields in real time. The field as Manku explains, appears weirdly as a sponges, and as in something out of a futuristic movie, or a Star Trek episode, disturbances in the field, become easy to detect. The idea was to make additional use of RF fields, other than for the transfer of signals. The concept is to build a platform to be used for processing other industry-dependent applications. The motion detection capability can be used in the home,where parents can readily tell who is at home without the need for camera feeds, reducing the notion of privacy invasion while being less intrusive.
The Cognitive Systems chip called R10, contains dual multi-vector processors, four wireless receivers, five powerful custom CPU cores, and is designed to be a cost-effective method of processing multiple applications. It can handle different wireless standards on various frequencies. Only one hub is normally need in each home and is connected in much the same manner as other wireless routers. The current focus is on motion detection and security for both enterprise and residences, but Amera is readily scalable to handle other applications. The platform should be available in the first half of 2016, while Cognitive is already in talks with several security firms.
The wireless technology cloud processing platform, euphemistically called Myst is envisaged as being used to power intelligent or connected environments, such as finding lost children who are not connected for detection with other wireless technologies such as GPS. With 50 employees, Cognitive claims a competitive edge, by designing their own chips, and applications such as the X10, can be cost effectively designed to track the flow of people in the region of a connected city. Other applications include network analysis to determine workflow, and pinpoint any weak or strong points of the network.