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Sensors

Good Thinking

Ear-IT project: How listening to the sounds of a city could make for smarter living

As the Internet of Things starts to take hold, we're seeing the emergence of gadgets equipped with all kinds of sensors to improve the world around us, from energy-saving climate control systems to smart locks for the front door. But have you ever thought about how sound might be measured and used to bring another level of automation? For the last two years, the Ear-IT project has been monitoring acoustics in the Spanish city of Santander, and says the results could improve the lives of its residents in ways ranging from improved traffic flow to energy savings in the home. Read More

Automotive

Volvo's 360° view technology aimed at making accidents a thing of the past

Driver assistance technologies are becoming more common and more sophisticated with each passing year, but despite this, their function is still to reduce accidents rather than eliminate them – at least, for now. Volvo's project 360° is going the whole hog with a new technology that the Swedish car maker believes has the potential to eliminate deaths and injuries by a Volvo car or truck by 2020.Read More

Music

Korg's Cliphit turns everyday objects into an impromptu drum kit

Many of us find ourselves tapping our fingers on desks or tabletops at any and every opportunity. It doesn't matter whether or not we've ever actually held a drumstick, if we have a rhythm in our head and a hand free we'll tap out a beat on whatever surface is within reach. We have already seen attempts to turn this from an annoying habit into a way of making something approaching real music, such as the Wavedrum and the TableDrum, but Korg has now upped the ante with Cliphit.Read More

Electronics

Nature inspires color-sensitive, CMOS-compatible photodetector

Researchers at Rice University's Laboratory for Nanophotonics (LANP) have developed a new image sensor that mimics the way we see color by integrating light amplifiers and color filters directly onto the pixels. The new design enables smaller, less complex, and more organic designs for CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor) sensors and other photodetectors used in cameras. Read More

Aircraft

BAE Systems developing "smart skin" for aircraft

In some cases, a pilot discovering damage to an airplane involves noticing a frightening thump on the hull. That may indicate that something is wrong, but not what or where. On the other hand, when human beings are injured, the network of nerves in the skin tell us almost exactly where and what is wrong. Stealing a march on nature, BAE Systems’ Advanced Technology Centre is working on a "smart skin" that covers the fuselage of an aircraft with thousands of microsensors to send back a wide variety of detailed information in real time. Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Evermind uses household appliances to monitor the elderly or infirm

For those with elderly or special needs relatives or friends who live by themselves, it is not always practical to check on their well-being all of the time. Sure, you could drop by or call them on the phone, but if it’s too late or too early in the day, this is inconvenient for both you and them. Evermind helps address these problems by alerting you remotely when electrical appliances are switched on and off by the person that you care about, indicating that they are active and everything is normal.Read More

Mobile Technology

Smartphone sensor generates crowdsourced pollution maps

Fine dust pollution triggers all manner of health problems, but accurately tracking its concentration across cities and regions takes considerable manpower. That could get a whole lot easier with a sensor that attaches to a smartphone and measures particulate matter (fine dust) levels in the air, which is under development at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.Read More

Science

Laser tech allows for longer-distance sensing

The trouble with existing 3D imaging technology is that – at the consumer level, at least – it tends to struggle with distances beyond a few feet. Put even a third of the width of a basketball court between yourself and a Microsoft Kinect sensor, for instance, and it won't pick up your movements at all. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, claim to have developed a Lidar (light radar)-based system that can remotely sense objects across distances as long as 30 feet (10 m), which could have widespread benefits in fields as diverse as entertainment, transportation, robotics, and mobile phones.Read More

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