Feeds

IBM tries its hand in the lawn sprinkler biz

Precipitation anticipation

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

IBM's patent portfolio is a terrific source of the curious and bizarre. From patents for "dealing with chaos," to automating the process of informing a clerk whether you want paper or plastic, Big Blue certainly has a knack for wrapping its IP tendrils around some strange stuff.

This week, IBM is in the lawn sprinkler business.

US patent application 20080234870, aka "Irrigation System and Methodology" is a lawn sprinkler system that cares as much about the weather as the guy engaging in awkward elevator conversations.

Alas, most modern sprinklers take only a passing fancy to the art of meteorology, claims IBM. Simple systems are disposed to "unwarranted sprinkling," wasting water by going to work at their pre-programmed schedules regardless if its raining or had rained earlier that day. More modern systems may include a rain gauge to prevent sprinkling if it collects water prior to the programmed time. But they can't tell if it begins raining soon after the sprinkling starts.

IBM submits a solution that involves a radio transmitter station that sends out weather prediction data to various geographic regions. If some joker plans to do a rain dance that day, IBM's special sprinklers are on the case.

"The irrigation apparatus also includes a controller, coupled to the radio receiver, that activates watering devices coupled to the controller to water at least one watering zone at a scheduled time. However, the controller prevents activation of the watering devices at the scheduled time if at least one of the following conditions occurs. A first condition is the radio receiver receiving the geographic sub-region code of the particular sub-region in which the irrigation apparatus is located, thus indicating that rain is forecast for the particular geographic sub-region within the first predetermined time period. A second condition is the controller determining that rain water is present in a rain sensor coupled to the controller. "

[Note that: "geographic sub-region code of the particular sub-region in which the irrigation apparatus is located, thus indicating that rain is forecast for the particular geographic sub-region within the predetermined time period," is probably the best way ever to say "if it's going to rain there".] ®

Reducing security risks from open source software

More from The Register

next story
Sysadmin Day 2014: Quick, there's still time to get the beers in
He walked over the broken glass, killed the thugs... and er... reconnected the cables*
SHOCK and AWS: The fall of Amazon's deflationary cloud
Just as Jeff Bezos did to books and CDs, Amazon's rivals are now doing to it
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
The triumph of VVOL: Everyone's jumping into bed with VMware
'Bandwagon'? Yes, we're on it and so what, say big dogs
Carbon tax repeal won't see data centre operators cut prices
Rackspace says electricity isn't a major cost, Equinix promises 'no levy'
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.