Putting Nest to Work

Aura, a system that pools the unused processing power available in Web-linked devices like the Nest, is the brainchild of a UAB team led by Ragib Hasan, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Computer and Information Sciences.
56dab2b3675237b0ba79395c67ee9ae4 LThat Nest thermostat on your wall could be making you money. Not saving money, mind you. That’s its day job: learning your habits so it can fine-tune your energy use and lower your power bills. But most of the time, it’s just sitting there with nothing much to do. Add in some code written by a group of UAB computer researchers, however, and that Nest — along with all the other smart refrigerators, TVs, light bulbs, sensors and more that make up the Internet of Things — could be helping traveling businesspeople crunch data, tourists Photoshop their vacation snaps, and more.

The system, known as Aura, is the brainchild of a UAB team led by Ragib Hasan, Ph.D., assistant professor in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences Department of Computer and Information Sciences, and director of the SECRETLab research group. Aura pools the unused processing power available in Web-linked devices like the Nest, the poster child of the new Internet of Things (IoT) age.

Aura is designed to connect dozens or even hundreds of these devices into a localized cloud service for customers in need of additional computer horsepower. In addition to the extra processing muscle, those customers would keep their data nearby, instead of broadcasting it to mammoth data centers around the world.