A lot of sensor news came out this week from brand new sensors to new ways of using sensors. We picked out some of our favourites:
A Social Network for Sensors
OpenSensors.io is taking the world’s sensors online, allowing devices to share their data with anyone who might need it, like researchers and weather alert networks. The site also has a paid option, which keeps data private while still using the open source software that puts the device’s data into the cloud. What makes OpenSensor stand out is that it’s a centralized hub of data that all devices can access and share, unlike most solutions that require data to be hosted on a personal server.
A New Sensor Payload to Keep Marines Safe from Hidden Mines
The US Navy will be equipping drone planes with a new multispectral sensor payload by Arête Associates. The new sensor, called the coastal battlefield reconnaissance and analysis (COBRA) Block I sensor payload system, will be more adept at detecting mines in the surf zone. This will increase safety for marines coming to land.
Clock time Killer Design
Innovative product designer, Weng Zinyu, designed a line of products fitted with sensors that trigger unique and humorous interactions. The “Angry Lamp” turns off when it’s not needed. The “Tangible Memory” picture frame will blur it’s contents after not sensing motion, then restore the picture when it senses being picked up. Similarly, the “Time Killer” is a clock that saws itself in half, but only when it doesn’t sense anyone moving around the room. While the products may not be the most practical, they are a great example of how sensors can be used for even the most fun applications.
Cheap Sensors Will Tell Your Phone When Food’s Gone Bad
MIT announced a new technology that allows a phone to receive updates on the status of food, or the presence of explosives. The sensor uses a modified near field communication (NFC) chip that detects the presence of specific gases using carbon nanotubes. The sensors are very cheap, and since they’re able to communicate with smartphones, they’re also very practical. The team at MIT are still developing the technology, but it’s possible that it’ll be packed into all our perishable food within a few years.
Sensors Helping Fleet Vehicles Stay on the Road
Logistics companies are looking to sensors to help increase the efficiency and safety of fleet vehicles. Savi, a logistics analytics company, are looking at using sensors to monitor the temperature of sensitive loads like pharmaceuticals, watch for tampering and keep track of the fleet. The largest challenge will be to convince drivers why these are important and have them agree to the tracking.
(via Tech Republic)
A New Smart Skin Opens New Doors for People Wearing Prosthetics
A new synthetic skin has been designed by researchers at the Seoul National University. The skin is smart, containing a pressure array, temperature arrays, strain sensors, electroresistive heaters and stretchable multi-electrode arrays for nerve stimulation. This new skin is a much closer proximity to real skin than anything we’ve seen. Not only does it sense, but it provides heat and nerve stimulation as a real hand would. This exciting development will give people who need prosthetics much-needed enhanced functionality.
Thermal Imaging Sensors Being Deployed to Improve Weather Forecasting
The Canadian Space Agency have contracted National Optics Institute to start making scans over the Arctic to measure the heat radiated by Arctic clouds. These clouds are known to cause “severe weather” conditions by creating cold air masses and releasing a lot of heat into space. The heat radiation will be picked up by far infrared radiometers (FIRR) along with other measurement instruments, which will be flown over the clouds. The test flights will commence in spring of 2015.
We’ll be back next week with the last batch of Sensor news for 2014.
Do you have other news about sensors? Make sure to leave it in the comments.