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Sensors

In military parlance, the job of a soldier is to find, fix, and finish the enemy. However, this is a bit difficult when the soldier has to fumble with different scopes while keeping eyes on the target. To simplify things, BAE Systems is developing a combination night vision and thermal imaging system that not only allows soldiers to rapidly acquire and engage targets in all weather and lighting, but also to remotely aim their weapons without looking through the sights.

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For something commonly called a "dummy," the mannequins used in crash tests are surprisingly sophisticated and so specialized that they're not much use out of automotive safety labs. When the US Army went looking for a dummy of its own, it had to go back to square one by awarding a contract to California-based Diversified Technical Systems (DTS) to help develop the first instrumented dummy designed for military vehicle blast testing. Read More
Sensors that identify infectious disease and food contaminants may soon be printed on paper using ordinary office inkjet printers. Researchers at McMaster University have developed a prototype that could lead to a commercial product in the next few years which helps doctors and scientists in the field quickly detect certain types of cancer or bacterial and respiratory infections or monitor toxin levels in water. Read More
Scientists have developed a new type of shape-shifting nanoprobe that can perform high-resolution remote biological sensing not possible with current technology. Around one-tenth the size of a single red blood cell, the nanoprobes are designed to provide accurate feedback on internal body conditions by altering their magnetic fields in response to their environment. The researchers predict wide-spread applications for the nanoprobes in the fields of chemistry, biology, engineering and, one day, to aid physicians in high-accuracy clinical diagnostics. Read More
A European group headed by Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Spain, is in the process of trialling a cutting edge system with the potential to greatly improve the quality of life for those suffering from Parkinson's disease. The system, known as REMPARK, utilizes a small waist-worn module and headset controlled by a smartphone that will allow doctors to observe and manage the symptoms of Parkinson's in real time. Read More
Driver assist technology (like the impressive array of features we reviewed in Ford’s Kuga SUV) is making new cars a lot smarter, and probably safer, every year. But what about older cars? CarVi is a stick-on unit that adds collision warnings, lane change assistance and driver skills assessment to your current ride. But we can’t decide if it’s going to be a nice addition, a missed opportunity or an annoying electronic back-seat driver. Read More
Fences, gates, dogs and locks – these have been the cornerstones of home security for centuries. But modern technology has given homeowners the ability to supplement such measures with camera-based DIY systems that, in addition to acting as a deterrent, can help catch criminals either in the act or afterwards. One such system is the Oplink TripleShield system, which we recently had the opportunity to try out. Read More
Extreme sports sprang from small groups of rebellious, adrenaline-fueled athletes exploring uncharted territory, much like the Z-Boys taking their skateboards to the drought-stricken pools of California in the 1970s. These days there is a whole lot more on the line, with career-making endorsements hinging on perfect 720 degree spins and butter-smooth landings. On show at CES this week, the XsensrAIR sensor is aimed at extreme sports enthusiasts looking to take their craft to the next level, offering feedback on their performance in real time. Read More
If you've ever been asleep on a yacht in harbor when a submarine tests its sonar, you know that underwater sound is anything but trivial – one ping can send you out of your bunk and across the room. Small wonder that the major navies spend a fortune studying the impact of naval and civilian sonar systems on sea animals such as whales and dolphins, who live in a world of sound. Scientists at the University of Bath have developed a more cetacean-friendly sonar system called Acoustic Zoom that is not only less disruptive to marine life, but also improves resolution beyond that of current methods. Read More
Maintaining a steady blood oxygen level is critical for the body to stave off breathing problems and organ trouble. For those needing to keep a close eye on things, there's no shortage of monitoring systems and dedicated pulse oximeters available, but these can be somewhat unwieldy. Scientists at the University of California (UC) Berkeley are looking to make the process a little less cumbersome with the development of a thin, blood-oxygen sensor that can be worn much like a Band-Aid. Read More