Sensor Sunday: Wearable magnetic sensors, sensing escaped prisoners, preventing railway fatalities and more

This weeks sensor news comes from all over the world and from all fields. We’ll start with the emergence of a new smart city, talk about a new sensor being developed and finish it off with some creative uses of sensors that we’ve seen. Read on to find out more.

Singapore Starts Setting Up A Sensor Network

Singapore has joined the list of smart cities.  The city will be rolling out sensors to monitor for flooding and citizen safety. A spokesperson for the Infocomm Development Authority said, “We see new areas and opportunities for the government to do more to assist, grow and build up a common infrastructure to support the deployment of smart nation applications.”

(via Bangkok Post)

Feeling Magnetic Fields

Feeling Magnetic Fields

The magnetic sensor on a soap bubble (Photo credit: Atama)

A team at the Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research have been working on an light, sticky magnetic sensor that humans can wear to detect magnetic fields. This kind of sensor is useful for orientation, allowing useres to sense altitude, direction and location. The biggest accomplishment is making them ultra-thin (2 micrometres) and light (3 grams) so they fit easily on the skin. The next step is working to develop other components to power and transmit data as well as add more of these sorts of lightweight sensors.

Using Sensors to Secure Your Computer

Atama has released a special key fob that provides Macs with a simple security solution. The system attaches to a keychain and connects to computers via Bluetooth. When the user walks away, the computer locks the screen and can run AppleScripts to, for instance, stop playing music. This neat device reminds us of the LockIfNotHot project by Didier Stevens, where an infrared temperature sensor detects a person around the computer, and locks the screen when the temperature drops.

(via Wired)

Using Seismic Sensors to Catch Escaping Prisoners

From personal security to prison security. The Delhi jail is looking at using seismic sensors to detect convicts who may be trying to tunnel out of prison. Although no technology has been installed yet, officials are hopeful that such a system would improve security. If it works, it could spread to more jails across India and even the world.

(via Economic Times)

Sensors on Tracks Help Prevent Railway Fatalities

A Northeast Regional train crosses Miner Lane in Waterford. (photo credit: Pi.1415926535)

A Northeast Regional train crosses Miner Lane in Waterford. (photo credit: Pi.1415926535)

Metal detecting sensors have been saving lives on railway tracks for more than fifteen years. The quad gates system alerts train engineers to vehicles that could be blocking the track, giving them ample time to come to a stop and avoid a fatal collision. The installation of sensors comes at a better price than the alternative of redesigning intersections, and has already proven a boon for preventing accidents.

(via Big Country Homepage)

We’ll return next week for more news about sensors and how they’re used. If you find some awesome use of sensors that you think we should know about, let us know in the comments.


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

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Posted in Sensor Sunday

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