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Sensors

Details of ChemCam (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL)

NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has already fired its laser over 500 times as it studies its surroundings as engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) calibrate its sensors. In a classic example of “waste not, want not” Curiosity concentrated its activity on a patch of rocks that were uncovered by the rocket backwash of the sky crane that delivered the unmanned explorer to the Martian surface on August 6.  Read More

Research headed by professor Nosang Myung at Bourns College of Engineering, UCR has result...

Research headed by professor Nosang Myung at Bourns College of Engineering, University of California, Riverside (UCR), has resulted in the development of a prototype "electronic nose." The work brings to mind previous "electronic noses" that we reported on back in 2010, but rather than discovering forms of cancer, Myung's prototype is designed to detect harmful airborne agents, such as pesticides, bio-terrorism, gas leaks and other unwanted presences - with clear applications in military, industry and agricultural areas.  Read More

A newly-developed electronic finger cuff could lead to smarter surgical gloves that make p...

Using industry-standard manufacturing technology, researchers have integrated ultrathin and stretchable silicon-based electronics, sensors and actuators on an artificial skin that can be worn on the tip of your fingers. The result is an artificial finger cuff that could be used to produce the ultimate hi-tech surgeon's glove, capable of sensing the electrical properties of tissue, removing it locally, or even performing ultrasound imaging with a simple touch.  Read More

The ubiquitous computer (or Ubi for short) is an always-on, voice-activated, Wi-Fi-connect...

From HAL 9000 in Arthur C Clarke's Space Odyssey science fiction saga to Eddie and Deep Thought from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, or even Dr. Theopolis from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, voice interaction with computers was very much the stuff of science fiction when I was growing up. These days, of course, I can use my voice to tell an iPod touch to change music or get convincingly beaten in a TV game show by IBM's Watson but when shopping for a new computer, available options still depend on physical touch for input and visuals for output. The folks behind the ubiquitous computer (or Ubi for short) are hoping to change that by launching an affordable, unobtrusive and useful little box that's always ready and waiting to tell you what you need to know.  Read More

Lapka is  sensor that works with an iPhone app to present data on various environmental fa...

Have you ever sat and wondered what the radiation level is in your house? Or whether that food you're about to greedily tuck into is organic or not? Then Lapka may have been conceived with you in mind. The people behind Lapka – a set of sensors and accompanying app for the Apple iPhone – claim their product can do all of the above and more besides.  Read More

The U.S. Army is deploying personal blasts sensors for soldiers to record data from IED at...

Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) have been a major hazard for Coalition and NATO forces in Afghanistan for over the past decade. The toll that they’ve taken in lives and equipment has been terrible, but the U.S. Army hopes to alleviate some of this with new vehicle and body blast sensors shipping to Afghanistan in August 2012. These sensors, built jointly with Georgia Tech Research Institute and the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force are part of wireless information network designed to aid doctors and engineers by collecting blast and pressure data from the vehicles and soldiers themselves.  Read More

The pyramid patterns created in a polymer sheet increase current production in the new tri...

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have taken advantage of the triboelectric effect, which sees an electric charge generated through friction between two different materials, to develop a generator that could supplement power produced by piezoelectric nanogenerators previously developed at Georgia Tech. The triboelectric generator could be used to produce electricity from activities such as walking and even has the potential to create touchscreens that generate their own power.  Read More

UnLoc could make navigating sprawling indoor environments such as shopping malls much easi...

The commercialization of GPS technology has been a boon for those navigating unfamiliar city streets, highways and byways, but head inside out of sight of the GPS satellite signals and the limitations of the technology can quickly become evident. Other efforts to solve the problem involve the use of accelerometers, sometimes combined with magnetic field sensors, but a new system developed at Duke University promises to provide precise indoor localization using a different approach – detecting “invisible” landmarks.  Read More

The Chronius project has developed a T-shirt fitted with sensors to remotely monitor patie...

No one likes going to the doctor. There's the inevitable wait in the waiting room before eventually being ushered into the office of the harried doctor who spends most of his day dealing with relatively minor complaints or simple follow-up visits. Then, of course, there's the bill. But what if patients could get a check up without having to actually visit the doctor? A smart T-shirt fitted with various sensors is designed to do just that.  Read More

A nanotube-infused paint invented at Rice University allows strain to be read using a near...

While wireless sensors for detecting the strain placed on bridges and buildings, such as the SenSpot, are easier and cheaper to install than embedded wired networks of sensors, they still need to be in physical contact with the structure being monitored. Researchers at Rice University have now developed a new type of paint, infused with carbon nanotubes, that could make strain detection of materials in buildings, bridges and aircraft possible without actually touching the material.  Read More

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