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Sensor

Sensium-based devices continuously measured the physical effects of minus 40 degree temper...

Wearable health monitors have been available for some time, providing feedback on functions such as heart rate and blood pressure. They represent the tip of a potentially huge health and fitness market, from athletes and emergency services personnel to patients both in and recently discharged from hospital, who could benefit from real-time, intelligent wireless body monitoring of vital signs. Telemetry technology provider Toumaz has developed an ultra-low power system to wirelessly monitor heart rate, ECG, temperature and physical activity. The Sensium Life Platform has just been used to monitor the health of team members during a record-breaking 4,000 kilometer transantarctic expedition that not only made the fastest vehicle crossing of the Antarctic, but was also the first expedition to use biofuels extensively in Antarctica, and featured the first bio-fuelled vehicle ever to reach the South Pole.  Read More

Tel Aviv University's explosive-detecting sensor (Image: AFTAU)

The recent Yemeni bomb threat has only highlighted the need for quick, accurate ways of detecting explosives. With their excellent sense of smell and the ability to discern individual scents, even when they’re combined or masked by other odors, this task is usually given to man’s best friend. But training these animals can be expensive and good sniffer dogs can be hard to find. Scientists have now developed an electronic sensor they say is more sensitive and more reliable at detecting explosives than any sniffer dog.  Read More

A new system monitors underground soil acoustics to predict landslides

People living in landslide-prone areas will be glad to know that a new technology has been developed which monitors soil acoustics to determine when a landslide is imminent. The system consists of a network of sensors, buried across a hillside considered a risk. As soil moves within the hillside, it creates noise – the more the amount of movement, the louder the noise. When that noise reaches a threshold level, the system sends a text message warning to local authorities, that a landslide is about to occur.  Read More

Fraunhofer's self-monitoring polymer-metal composite

When engineers want to know how much stress mechanical components such as wind turbine blades or machine parts are subjected to, they usually do so via a series of sensors. These sensors are typically either built into components, or are glued onto them. A new polymer-metal composite material developed at Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Applied Material Research (IFAM), however, may be about to change that – components made from the material are reportedly able to act as their own sensors.  Read More

One of the NIST mini-sensors, capable of magnetically detecting a human heartbeat

Six years ago, America’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) developed miniature sensors that each utilized about 100 billion rubidium atoms in gas form, a low-power infrared laser and optics to detect tiny magnetic fields. Until recently the sensors had been used almost exclusively for physics research, but now NIST has teamed up with the National Metrology Institute of Germany to successfully use one of the mini-sensors to track a human heartbeat – an accomplishment which could have medical applications down the road.  Read More

A conventional gyroscope

Earlier this year the iPhone 4 became the first smartphone to boast a built-in gyroscope in addition to an accelerometer, proximity sensor and ambient light sensor. Combining a gyroscope with an accelerometer allows the device to sense motion on six axes – left, right, up, down, forward and backward, as well as roll, pitch and yaw rotations – allowing for more accurate motion sensing abilities comparable to a game controller such as the Wii-mote. The iPhone 4 uses a MEMs (micro-electro-mechanical-systems) gyroscope but a newly developed optical gyroscope, small enough to fit on the head of a pin, could allow the integration of more accurate motion sensing technology in not only smartphones, but also in medical devices inside the human body.  Read More

A conventional white cane (Photo: Ryxhd123)

For the past several years, various research institutions and organizations have been experimenting with electronic “white canes” for the blind. One of these was the ultrasound-enabled UltraCane, which we profiled five years ago. Now, however, an associate professor of applied science at the University of Arkansas is working on something more advanced – a white cane that utilizes laser technology to give users the lay of the land.  Read More

Eruption of Kilauea Volcano at Mauna Ulu, February - March 1974 (Image: National Park Serv...

New technology using silicon carbide electronics could enable radio transmitters that can withstand temperatures of up to 900 degrees Celsius (1,652 F). No, it’s not being developed so listeners can enjoy their favorite breakfast DJ in a worst-case global warming scenario. Rather the team behind the research envisions devices that could be dropped into the depths of the earth to provide early warning of a volcanic eruption or to provide real time data from the inside of a jet engine or nuclear power plant.  Read More

Sensors sprinkled throughout the home beam information at a set frequency. Wiring wrapped ...

Smart homes of the future will automatically adapt to their surroundings using an array of sensors to record everything from the building’s temperature and humidity to the light level and air quality. One hurdle impeding the development of such intelligent homes is the fact that existing technology is still power hungry and today’s wireless devices either transmit a signal only several feet, or consume so much energy they need frequent battery replacements. Researchers have now developed sensors that run on extremely low power thanks to using a home’s electrical wiring as a giant antenna to transmit information.  Read More

The LiveRider mount and wireless receiving dongle

The popularity of Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch hasn’t just resulted in an explosion of apps available from the iTunes Store, it’s also spawned a stack of hardware accessories designed to extend the capabilities of said devices. Most common are the seemingly endless array of docks, or cases that increase the devices’ battery life. New Potato Technologies has decided for something a bit different with its LiveRider – a bike mounting system that turns your iPhone/iPod touch into a wireless cycling computer.  Read More

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