Sensor Sunday: Wearable Sensors for the Blind, Real-Time Sensor Networks for Climate Science, Sensor Nails and much more!

It’s time for another delivery of Sensor Sunday news. We found lots of wearable sensors for the blind, sensors for tracking climate change in real-time, battery-less wireless sensors and lots more. Our world is becoming more aware through sensors, and here are some ways researchers, scientists and students are making it happen.

Revolutionizing Climate Science in the Great White North

Revolutionizing Climate Science in the Great White North

Students install the wireless sensor network in the forest north of Peace River (Photo Credit: Cassidy Rankine)

University of Alberta professor Arturo Sanchez has installed 300 cellphone-sized sensors in a forest north of Peace River (close to the heart of the Alberta oil sands) to track climate change. These real-time sensors track 64 different details of climate, including carbon dioxide levels, soil moisture and the amount of sunlight. Sanchez will be taking his system to a UN climate change conference so the world can take advantage of the revolutionary system that could help save the world.

(via Edmonton Journal)

Sensors to Monitor Waste Disposal

In Bengaluru, India garbage trucks are getting ready to be outfit with GPS and load sensors. This move is expected to help lend more transparency to the solid waste management system and will ensure that contractors are reporting tonnage accurately and dumping in the designated areas. A simple solution to a costly problem that’s been affecting this Indian city.

(via New Indian Express)

A Handful of Wearable Sensors for the Blind

Numerous stories have been popping up lately that show new ways for the blind to “see”.  Students in Argentina put ultrasonic sensors into the platforms of shoes to detect objects in a 25-inch radius (via RT).  Researchers at Wake Forest University and an interdisciplinary team of students put their sonar sensors into a watch, costing only $60 (via Adafruit). Unlike the Duspavoni from Argentina, the watch isn’t intended to replace guide dogs or canes, necessarily. The vibrating vest, known as Eyeronman, would allow users to tactically sense their surroundings in their environment using lidar, ultrasound and infrared (via Yahoo! News). With all these innovations and opportunities bubbling up, the blind may not have to deal with the more stigmatizing tools such as canes and dogs.

Wooden Tools With Digital Innards

The wooden tools connect to 3D design software (Photo credit: Unfold)

The wooden tools connect to 3D design software (Photo credit: Unfold)

Unfold, a Belgian design studio, showed off a tape measure, caliper and protractor that are embedded with sensors that transmit measurements to 3D design software. The beautiful tools are mostly marketed toward designers, allowing them to make highly accurate measurements when working on a CAD design. Even though Unfold has a narrow focus for their tools, there are no doubt many more applications for this sort of technology.

(via Popular Mechanics)

Cutting Power Needs on Wireless Sensors

Anyone who’s worked in wireless knows the burden of powering wireless devices. PsiKick, a two-year-old startup, has shown a method for digital operations in sub-threshold voltage conditions. They’ve already demonstrated successful circuits for microprocessors, memory and analog devices. This breakthrough will vastly change wireless networks applications, like the internet of things, by allowing sensors to operate practically indefinitely.

(via EDN)

Sensing at your Finger Tips

Sensors at the Tip of your Fingers

A model shows off some new sensor nails (Photo credit: Damn Geeky.com)

The final story comes in on the weirder, and almost science-fiction, end of new technology. A pair of art and design students put electronics into nail gels to give fingers a new sensitivity. The team still have a lot of development before this sort of thing is practical as they still require constant maintenance, a watch battery and are generally more bulky than most people would care to wear. Still, they’ve been busy filling requests from clients, including sensors that work with their apps.

(via Inventor Spot)

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

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