A Research Consortium in Speckled Computing

Project Details


A Speck is a new form of information processing device which combines sensing, processing and wireless networking. Computation on a network of specks (called a specknet) is termed as Speckled Computing: specks sense and process the data that they sense in situ, and share partial results with other specks to solve a problem in a distributed manner. Specknets are autonomous with the sensing, computation, and actuation taking place at the edges and connected to an IP network via a base station. These ideas first presented in 2002 presaged the so-called “Internet of Things” which is now topical and subject of a number of EU and TSB funding calls. The project has developed tools (simulation environments, evaluation workbench), platforms (hardware, firmware, networking protocols) and algorithms (localisation, orientation estimation) which has progressed research in distributed computation on resource-constrained networked embedded sensor devices.

Layman's description

We interact with two different worlds in our everyday lives: the physical world that we inhabit of sensory data, and the virtual world of networks of computers which we call the internet. Specks are miniature information processing devices which bridge these two worlds of analogue data and digital information to enable interactions and networking with the internet with the scale of ease which has not been hitherto possible.

Key findings

The research in distributed computation on resource-constrained, networked embedded sensor devices has coalesced around two key findings:
Demonstration of the first fully wireless, full-body, real-time, 3-D motion capture system using a network of on-body speck devices: The design and implementation of the Orient Motion Capture system: development of the hardware Orient devices and firmware which included a real-time operating system and low-power networking protocol, and algorithms for deriving 3-D orientation information of the body in real-time from the sensor data.
Demonstration of a wireless patch for monitoring respiration rate and breathing patterns by measuring the rotation of the chest/abdominal wall using an on-body speck device. The design and implementation of the Respire device, the development of firmware and algorithms for recovering the breathing rate and pattern from sensor data. The same device also provides activity and heart rate data.
Effective start/end date1/10/0530/09/10


  • EPSRC: £3,721,432.00


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