“Lab of Things is a platform for research that uses connected devices in the home, allowing researchers who need to collect data from homes for their studies to more easily manage and collect and analyze data.
“Researchers, such as those working in health care or computer interaction, often conduct studies of people in their homes.
“But one of the most limiting factors is how often they are allowed into their subjects home — if, for instance, they must go every time sensor software needs updating, said Arjmand Samuel of Microsoft Research in Redmond.
“Lab of Things should make it easier for researchers to deploy studies in homes. All it requires is a wireless network, and for the researcher to bring in a home hub — a laptop or even a netbook running Windows 7 or 8 — that can talk to the sensors set up in the home.
“When a sensor detects an activity, for example, it can send an email to the researcher. Software updates can be deployed over the air without going into people’s homes.
“All the data collected goes into a cloud owned by the researcher, allowing her to analyze it more easily, said A.J. Brush of Microsoft Research in Redmond.
“Researchers also are able to see what is happening on their mobile devices.
“The beta version of Lab of Things is available for download, and some researchers are already using it, Brush said.”
(Ratul Mahajan, who architected the platform and co-leads the project, is also a UW CSE Ph.D. alum.)