A new type of search engine which draws its results from sensors based in the physical world is being developed by a team of European researchers.
SMART – Search engine for MultimediA Environment geneRated contenT – is a European-funded project aimed at developing and implementing a system to allow internet users to search and analyse data from sensors.
The project includes teams from Atos, Athens Information Technology, Imperial College London and the University of Glasgow.
“The SMART project will be built upon an open-source search engine technology known as Terrier we have been developing at the University since 2004, and we’re pleased to be involved in this innovative research initiative,” said Dr Iadh Ounis from the University of Glasgow’s School of Computing.
“The SMART engine will be able to answer high-level queries by automatically identifying cameras, microphones and other sensors that can contribute to the query, then synthesising results stemming from distributed sources in an intelligent way.”
Researchers hope that by matching search queries with information from sensors and cross-referencing data from social networks, users will be able to receive detailed answers to questions such as “How busy is the city centre?” Search engines such as Google currently cannot answer queries of this type.
“SMART builds upon the existing concept of ‘smart cities’, physical spaces which are covered in an array of intelligent sensors which communicate with each other and can be searched for information,” said Ounis. “The search results sourced from these smart cities can be reused across multiple applications, making the system more effective.”
SMART is expected to be tested in a real city by 2014. Others involved in the project include IBM’s Hafia Research Lab, City of Santander, PRISA Digital, Telesto and Consorzio S3 Log.