Cognitive Systems Corp. today revealed its new platform to revolutionize the way wireless signals are used. Cognitive’s affordable technology allows real-time visualizations of wireless signals, extracts environmental information embedded in those signals, and secures wireless networks and physical spaces.
Cognitive’s platform provides enhanced levels of cybersecurity and transparency, detects motion using wireless signals, and identifieswireless devices connected to a user’s network. Applications built on the platform notify users when a device — authorized or unauthorized — connects to their network or when an untrusted network is broadcasting in their vicinity.
How amera works and what it can do
Cognitive’s amera sensor, and its underlying R10 chip, mark the first product release from Cognitive and reflect 18 months of development and design. amera detects the presence of wireless signals from cell towers, Wi-Fi base stations, and rogue signals, then alerts users of potential threats to their cybersecurity. Homes and offices can be protected from unauthorized devices. Public spaces such as coffee shops, restaurants and airports can protect their customers from unknowingly using unsecure networks.
“This technology will help businesses, organizations and consumers protect their data and devices from hackers who would take advantage of weak wireless security or set up dummy networks to snoop and steal private information,” said Taj Manku, Cognitive’s co-founder. “While thetechnology behind amera is complex, it communicates information to users in an understandable form through a sleek sensor unit and applications that can be accessed via their smartphones or computers.”
Cognitive’s vertically integrated system also includes a high-performance cloud computing network in order to intuitively deliver the data amera gathers to the user.
amera also senses motion in physical spaces by detecting small changes in the wireless signals it receives, even through walls and in the dark. Traditional motion sensors or security cameras leave gaps in coverage for intruders to slip through. Unlike cameras, amera does not record or decode video, so there is no sense of intrusion or threat of someone hacking into private footage.
The R10 chip inside
The core technology powering amera is Cognitive’s R10 supercomputer chip, featuring four wireless receivers and highly-configurable dual multi-vector processors. Cognitive designed the chip to replace hardware that would normally cost tens of thousands of dollars.
“The R10 chip functions like the human eye, only it can see invisiblewireless signals that people cannot,” said Manku. “And the chip is much faster. It can respond to and report on signals in one-millionth of a second.”
“Technically speaking, the R10 chip is engineered with three layers of design,” Oleksiy Kravets, co-founder of Cognitive, elaborates. “The first layer contains a matrix of radios for sensing wireless signals, the second layer contains a grid of digital signal processing modules, and the third is the software used to configure silicon sub-systems and process the data.”
With five custom CPU cores, the R10 chip has significant capabilities in detecting and processing wireless signals in real-time.
The potential applications for the amera platform are limitless. Cognitive and its partners already see uses for it in emergency location services like finding a skier in an avalanche or a lost child at a theme park. The platform can also be used to provide a picture of crowd movement and traffic flow, allowing optimized use of retail areas, airports, sports stadiums and other high density environments. A wider deployment of amera devices could also map wireless signals on a global scale in real-time, maximizing spectrum efficiency.
“The vision that drove amera and the R10 chip was to build a platform that empowers people by giving them more information about theirwireless environment,” said Hugh Hind, CEO of Cognitive. “Now we want to enable people with innovative visions to explore other beneficial uses of the platform. The opportunities are only as limited as our imaginations.”