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Sensors


— Robotics

New sensor system enables robots to look inside luggage

Luggage lying around unattended at an airport justifiably triggers the jitters. The hazardous task of getting up close to inspect what could potentially be a bomb that could explode any time invariably falls to the bomb squad. Researchers have come up with a way to minimize the risk by creating a sophisticated, robot-mountable, sensor system that allows authorities to scan a piece of luggage and get an accurate image of its contents. The contact-free detection system could not only potentially help bomb specialists assess the danger quickly, but it could also help them obtain vital evidence.

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— Electronics

Multi-purpose Symbisa sensor looks to fast track the Internet of Things

Ceiling fans, thermostats, mailboxes and light fittings. It seems that no matter which direction you look in a smart home of the future you'll find a connected appliance interacting with its environment in one way or another. These smart devices generally feature hardware that's been carefully designed with a very specific purpose in mind, but what if there was more of a "one-size-fits-all" solution? British company Hanhaa is looking to offer inventors an easier route to the so-called Internet of Things, with a multi-purpose sensor kit that can be adapted to various tracking or monitoring applications within minutes of breaking open the box.

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— Electronics

Tiny temperature sensor powered wirelessly with radio waves

One of the problems for the smart buildings of tomorrow is that they may depend on some very un-smart wires to power them. To cut the cord, Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) researcher Hao Gao, as part of his PhD thesis, is developing a tiny transmitting temperature sensor that is powered by radio waves to eliminate the need for wires or batteries. Instead, it picks up radio waves from a special router, converts them into electricity, and uses it to transmit readings.

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— Sports

Iron-on motion capture system tracks baseballers' in-game biomechanics

There's much to be gained from tracking the biomechanics of elite athletes in the lab, where monitoring of stress on joints and muscles can not only aid in performance, but also help prevent injury. Baseball batters and pitchers dealing with one fastball after another are certainly no different, so US company Motus Global has announced an iron-on set of sensors designed to bring this technology out of the lab and onto the field for comprehensive in-match analysis.

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— Electronics

Flexible sensor made from chewing gum promises sensitive and versatile wearables

The small sensors found in wearables like fitness trackers and smartwatches are only becoming more versatile, from monitoring your heart rate to enabling gesture control. But a new sensor design could afford these devices even more flexibility, in more ways than one. By combining carbon nanotubes with used chewing gum, scientists have developed a sensing device that can pick up movements of the more flexible body parts, such as bent finger.

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— Health & Wellbeing

Juvo sleep monitor makes your bed "smart"

A Singapore-based startup is turning to Indiegogo to fund the development of Juvo, a sleep tracker that will fit under your mattress and track each breath and heartbeat without relying on uncomfortable wrist-worn bands. Through a comprehensive array of sensors, the tracker will offer helpful insights, lull you to sleep with a white noise machine, and wake you up at the right time through smart lights and thermostat integration.

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— Materials

Boron-doped graphene to enable ultrasensitive gas sensors

As an atom-thick, two-dimensional material with high conductivity, graphene is set to enable a stream of new electronic devices, including particularly sensitive sensors for the detection of various gases, such as those produced by explosives. Now an international team of researchers led by Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) has created a graphene-boron amalgam that can detect particular gases down to mere parts per billion, and may eventually lead to detectors with such sensitivity that they could detect infinitesimally tiny amounts of gas in the order of parts per quadrillion.

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