"For years, we've heard about how the physical world will become an "Internet of things" and people can, Tron Legacy-like, touch the walls of buildings like they're operating a tablet computer. For the most part, the vision of ubiquitous computing is still just vision. But computing is steadily expanding beyond its traditional confines.
First take a look at your driveway. Cars are becoming Internet-connected, letting people stream music or schedule when their electric batteries are recharged. It's happening in the home, too.
The Nest thermostat isn't the first to be WiFi-enabled, but if it proves popular, it will get more people used to operating their homes from a smart phone or tablet the way they'd check their Facebook status.
Increasingly, the Internet is reaching beyond PCs and phones to sensors. The JawBone wrist sensor, which plugs into smart phones to help people track their sleep or exercise, is just one type of sensor that connects to more powerful computers in the cloud. Imagine sensors on bridges sending off alerts when they detect a structural flaw or smart meters providing a real-time read on energy or water consumption for a more efficient grid."