I've been sharing around a white paper by Nokia that considers the mobile phone as a sensor. The key point:
As mobile device subscriptions pass the four billion mark, we’re looking at
the world’s most distributed and pervasive sensing instrument. Thanks to an increasing number of built-in sensors—ambient light, orientation, acoustical, video, velocity, GPS—each device can capture, classify, and transmit many types
of data with exceptional granularity. The perfect platform for sensing the world
is already in our hands.
Well, here's a cool example, from OpenSpime, WideNoise is an iPhone application that uses the microphone on the iPhone to measure environmental noise. These geo-tagged reports can then be used to create a noise map.
Rewind a bit, 'Spime' is an abbreviate of 'space' + 'time'. A Spime is defined by OpenSpime as: a technologically enabled device that interacts both with the physical and the digital environment, aware of its location and with an history about itself. OpenSpime is working to create a Jabber/XMPP protocol that allows Spimes to report information about themselves, and has a set of python libraries in development as a first project.
A handful of threads that really are woven together...