Around the world, the increased use of sensors — and the data insights they provide — is leading to better management of resources and increased efficiency. A recent article on Forbes.com highlights how IBM is creating smarter cities with sensor technology. The article also discusses how advanced application of sensors can be used to address any number of everyday urban challenges from finding a parking space to increasing access to critical information in the wake of a natural disaster.
Unfortunately, the widespread use of sensors can still be cost-prohibitive. Few organizations can afford to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars per sensor and companies need to be working hard on the idea of bringing the cost down to an affordable level. The key is to make it easier and cheaper for everyone to gain access to the sensor space.
Besides cost, there are two other barriers hampering the widespread adoption of sensors. The first is that much of the sensor industry is focused on the sensor base or the sensors themselves rather than combining all the components to present a complete solution. In many cases the end user or system integrator must put together different components, write the software and then embed it with the sensor hardware.
The second area of focus for many vendors is the big push for cloud-based data collection systems. However, many of these are generic APIs that work with any platform that is configured to use them. By themselves they are good ways to visualize your data, but not in the context of any real analysis or domain-specific expertise.
The reality is the end user needs both preconfigured hardware and cloud-based monitoring combined to serve a specific purpose. Users want sensors solutions that are easy to install and setup with clear instructions that explain what they’re capable of doing. They also need sensors that are easy to connect to other software and can integrate seamlessly with sensors from multiple vendors.
To be successful, organizations need to provide cheap, easy, and complete solutions that are broad enough to work with other systems. Sensors and the valuable insights they provide could be the key to smarter, more efficient cities and societies. It’s vital to develop integrated systems that are more affordable and readily available.
More info here.
Intel put some disaster management tech on display during a pre-IDF event yesterday and lucky for you, we got some hands-on time. The showcase focused on three main areas of disaster management: mitigation, preparedness and response. It included technologies such as connectivity provisions for disabled networks, energy management for distressed power grids, and — by far to most impressive item on display — fireballs! These spherical, rugged, low-cost, autonomous sensors are designed to be thrown into a fire and report data such as temperature, free-volatiles and air quality to first responder trucks via WiFi. Vital information such as the hottest spot and the chemical composition of a fire can be sent to both the firefighters’ smartphones and the backend offices. Initial readings make it easier to assess the situation before sending in human life.
More info here and here.
The Insciences Journal (ISSN 1664-171X), an international, peer-reviewed journal with Open Access online basis published by Insciences Organisation, has announced today the launching of its new section “Sensors”.
On behalf of the Editorial Board, we invite authors to contribute original research article(s) or comprehensive review(s) for consideration and publication in the Insciences Journal new section, Sensors.
Submitted papers should not have been previously published nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. All manuscripts submitted before 05 September 2011 will be published free of charge the Open Access publishing and its related article processing charges will be fully covered by the Insciences Organisation.
For more detailed information please visit the section home pages at http://journal.insciences.org/sensors/
Surfing and science are something of an odd mix, but we’ve seen time and time again that the two subjects to together like, well, salt and water. The latest high-tech stick to hit that briney mix comes from a team at UC San Diego, who outfitted a board with eight sensors on the bottom that measure the speed of the water as it rushes beneath. All are controlled by a waterpoofed computer embedded in the nose, which transmits data wirelessly to an Eee PC left sadly on the beach while its partner splashes around in the waves. The goal is to attempt to determine what level of flex is optimal and, once determined, to create the ultimate board and rule the world… the surfing world, at least.
More info here.
The ever-expanding ecosystem of smartphone apps owes a great deal to MEMS sensors. Indeed, smartphones, with their always-on Internet access and growing complement of sensor technologies, are quickly becoming the planet’s premier wireless sensor network.
“The cell phone is inherently a sensor; even its microphone gives you information on what type of environment you are in, from background or perhaps traffic noise. By using sensor fusion, you can take information from all of these sensors, even the ambient-light sensor, and create apps that have never been thought of before,” noted iSuppli Corp. analyst Jérémie Bouchard.
MEMS sensors in mobile handsets are allowing apps that not only dazzle users but could one day monitor the pulse of the planet. “We are interacting with the world in a more effective manner today because of the MEMS sensors in our mobile handsets; it’s not just for the gee-whiz factor anymore,” said Karen Lightman, managing director of the MEMS Industry Group (MIG). “All over the world, MEMS sensors are improving the quality of life for those using them.”
More info here.
Far from being just an accessory, mobile phones are starting to be used to collect data in an increasing number of disciplines.
When Martin Lukac felt a small earthquake rattle his Los Angeles apartment, he immediately thought of the mobile phone lying on his desk. Two weeks earlier, he had programmed the phone to capture readings from its built-in accelerometer, a sensor originally intended to support features such as games. Now, Lukac — a doctoral student in computer science at the University of California, Los Angeles — transferred the phone’s data to his computer and saw the readings plotted as a series of tell-tale spikes. Success! His phone had become a mobile seismometer.
Read the whole article on Nature, here.
From IEEE Spectrum online:
Sensors are starting to prove themselves in the biggest, most complex bridges, but the technology isn’t ready for the hundreds of thousands of smaller ones
The 2.9-kilometer Rion-Antirion Bridge in Greece, with its 300 sensors, is a testament to how smart a piece of infrastructure can be. It routinely tells operators when an earthquake, frequent in those parts, or high winds warrant shutting down traffic.
“The bridge tolls are meant to collect thousands of euros per day,” says Alexandre Chaperon, an engineer at the company that designed the system, Advitam, in Vienna, Va. “Without the monitoring system, the bridge would be closed after every earthquake, more than three days in some cases, instead of 5 minutes.”
Dozens of the largest and most complex bridges in the world are already studded with strain and displacement gauges, three-dimensional accelerometers, tiltmeters, temperature sensors, and other instruments. They are wired to central data-acquisition units—though some newer bridges have wireless systems—which collect and analyze the information and relay it to engineers, in hopes of catching signs of distress before human inspectors could. With the United States injecting US $27.5 billion into revamping the country’s roadways and bridges as part of an $800 billion economic stimulus effort, it might seem like a perfect opportunity to add smarts to more bridges.
Rad the complete article here.