Sensor Sunday: Sensors for guns, pets, and caregivers, plus Nintendo’s sleep sensor, an exoskeleton hand, and more!

It’s another Sensor Sunday and we’ve got so much news to share, from makers fighting Ebola to amazing new gas pressure sensors, and everything in between.

Sensoring [sic] the Police

Yardarm Technologies from Jim Schaff on Vimeo.

The biggest sensor news this week is about the police and their guns. Police in California and Texas are testing a new realtime sensor that will track each time officers fire their guns. The sensor is developed by Yardarm and fits into the base of a Glock sidearm. It will track when the gun is fired, where, the direction the weapon is pointed and when it is unholstered. The data can be used to paint a clearer picture of what happened in an incident, and hopefully keep more people safe.

(Virtual Strategy via The Verge)

Nintendo Gets Into Your Dreams

Nintendo made a surprising announcement about their foray into your sleep this past week. The company announced that they’ll be entering the healthcare business with a device that can sense the quality of sleep that a user receives. The system will visualize sleep patterns as well as make recommendations, such as changes to physical activity or diet. It’s set to roll out in 2016.

(via PC World)

A Cool Exoskeleton Hand Is Coming Next Year

The Dexmo F2

The Dexmo F2

An exoskeleton hand has appeared on Kickstarter that will sense the motion of your hands via 11 rotational sensors and an inertial measurement unit. The Dexmo Classic picks up on motion of each finger, separation between fingers and position of the hand in space. The Dexmo F2 adds force feedback with actuator-controlled disc brakes installed in the F2’s joints. This device could be useful for tablet typing, gaming control, virtual reality and more.

(via Gizmag)

An Ultra-Thin Smart Fabric Technology to Make Anything a Wearable

BeBop have developed a thin smart fabric sensor. It provides real-time reporting on bend, location, motion, rotation, angle and torque. The patch-like sensor can be woven onto a single piece of fabric without adding undue bulk, making it ideal for integration into clothing, sports equipment, prosthetics, healthcare devices, vehicles and much more.

(via UberGizmo)

Making Gadgets that Help Fight Ebola

Nicole Daphne Tricoukes and Kailey Shara have used the Apollo micro controller board to alert caregivers wearing protective suits as to when their temperature is getting too hot. These suits, worn by people on the front line of the Ebola crisis, cause internal body temperatures to rise high enough as to cause heat stroke in some instances. This simple solution of monitoring temperature, displaying it on a 128 x 64 pixel screen, and sounding an alert tone when the temperature gets too high, may keep caregivers in better condition to attend to the crisis at hand.

(via Make:)

Wearables for Fido Will Improve Pet-Human Communications

New Tech Aims to Improve Communication Between Dogs and Humans

David Roberts with one of his research associates. Photo credit: North Carolina State University.

Doggy wearables are making a buzz this week as researchers from North Carolina State University show off a new dog harness, equipped with sensors and haptic items. The harness monitors heart-rate and body temperature to track health and emotional state, as well as sensors to monitor posture and pick up on behavioural cues. On the other end, haptic items will allow humans to send commands to the dog. The team hopes to roll this out in applications as diverse as disaster response and dog training.

(NC State News via Engadget)

World’s First Photonic Pressure Sensor Outshines Traditional Mercury Gauge

First Photonic Pressure Sensor

The FLOC system setup, with laser-directing optics (right), copper-enclosed optical cavity (center), and output signal on a computer monitor (left) Photo: nist.gov

For people measuring gas pressure, a huge development emerged this week: an extremely efficient, fast and safe gas pressure sensor is on its way. Phys.org reports that the “new instrument, called a fixed-length optical cavity (FLOC), works by detecting subtle changes in the wavelength of light passing through a cavity filled with nitrogen gas.” The device not only eliminates the use of neurotoxic mercury (which was the only option for pressure-sensing until now), but performs 100-times faster than the mercury manometers with superior accuracy to boot. It’s positioned to depose the mercury pressure sensors in no time!

(via Phys.org)

That’s all for this week, but we’ll be back with more sensor news and applications next Sunday. If you hear about something interesting, or are working with sensors, let us know in the comments.

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Math lover. Engineering communicator. Mad-lib enthusiast. Total nerd.

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