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Top 10 Sensor Trends to Watch

2/10/2014 10:55 AM EST
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zewde yeraswork
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other sensor applications
zewde yeraswork   2/10/2014 12:01:08 PM
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Are there any other type of sensor applications not mentioned here that you see as especially relevant?

Susan Rambo
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Samsung GS4: sensor smorgasbord
Susan Rambo   2/10/2014 12:28:19 PM
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In working on this slideshow, I was amazed how the Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone, for this one brief moment, is really influential and a good example of these trends: it has humidity and temperature sensors, IR sensors for gesture recognition, ambient light sensors, the usual sensors that make the camera work, pressure (barometer), accelerometers -- all i need is my fuel cell sensor so the phone can be its own breathalyzer. If you get a chance, take a look at iFixit's teardown photos here. It's a pretty amazing piece of engineering.

chanj0
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Temperature and Humdity Sensor in a Smartphone
chanj0   2/10/2014 3:12:40 PM
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The idea of putting temperature and humidity sensor is kinda mindboggling.

The benefit of having it in a mobile device, with the combination of gps data, temperature and humidity in any location can be precisely measured and logged. Yet, when it is in a smartphone, the challenge is no one knows where the phone is currently kept. There will certainly be temperature difference when it is kept in the front pocket of man's shirt vs when it is kept in a woman's purse.

Susan Rambo
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Re: Temperature and Humdity Sensor in a Smartphone
Susan Rambo   2/10/2014 4:51:28 PM
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Good point. Maybe that's why the analyst thought it was not such a great idea.

krisi
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Re: Temperature and Humdity Sensor in a Smartphone
krisi   2/12/2014 10:53:26 AM
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I disagree, I keep watching at my iPhone at the weather bar to see what the temperature in my city is but it would be som much better to read out real temperature like my car does...so I think temperature sensors is a great idea...only if you are interested in reading it you will make sure that the smart phone stays in teh similar environment during the measurement, that common sense practice applies to any sensor in any experiment...Kris

zewde yeraswork
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Re: Temperature and Humdity Sensor in a Smartphone
zewde yeraswork   2/12/2014 11:06:48 AM
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People with sensors have to continue to not rely on them completely and must check up on them and control them in order to get the most out of their devices.

Susan Rambo
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Re: Temperature and Humdity Sensor in a Smartphone
Susan Rambo   2/12/2014 11:44:19 AM
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That's a good point. Users of smartphones will become more savvy to all the sensors and know how to get a more accurate reading.

DrQuine
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Re: Temperature and Humdity Sensor in a Smartphone
DrQuine   2/12/2014 6:01:15 PM
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Sounds like we need remote bluetooth temperature sensors for the iPhone - we care about the temperature outdoors as we drive, not in our pocket where the phone is resting. Maybe some of our car sensors can grant read-only access to our SmartPhones.

DrQuine
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FLIR One
DrQuine   2/11/2014 2:11:21 PM
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The FLIR One infrared camera attachment for the iPhone sounds like a wonderful device (especially since it is supposed to be able to overlay the IR image on the visible image). I can see a wide variety of artistic, scientific, and practical uses for the device.  I am, however, daunted by the reported $349 price.  I guess I'll have to be one of the later adopters when the price comes down. In the meantime, I'm using my $36 laser pyrometer (Black & Decker TLD100 Thermal Leak Detector) to remotely measure temperatures for energy conservation and just dreaming about false color IR images on my phone.

zewde yeraswork
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Re: FLIR One
zewde yeraswork   2/11/2014 4:23:30 PM
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That price is definitely going to go down. In the meantime, it is worth keeping one's eyes open for newer devices that resemble that same solution but maybe offer a little something extra that this one doe snot. The thing about sensors is that the market is so segmented and fractured you  might not notice when someone is doing something quite similar right next door because next door is far away according to the way the industry aligns itself.

DrQuine
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Bosch MEMS sensor - air pressure and SI units
DrQuine   2/11/2014 2:40:56 PM
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The Bosch MEMS sensor which can report atmospheric pressure for use in determining altitude (floor of a building) sounds like a very interesting addition to our repertoire of handheld SmartPhones. It also provides an interesting object lesson in atmospheric pressure in SI units. The article mentions "discrimination of plus or minus 0.12 hPA, which equates to plus or minus 1 meter of altitude". Not being familiar with "hPA" (which looked like a typo for kPA), I investigated further. Indeed hectopascals (hPA) exist and are commonly used in aviation and meterology; they are 1/10 of a kilopascal (kPA). These sensors, however, will have to compensate for the weather induced barometric pressure changes. Today's weather map shows sea level atmospheric pressure varying from 1017 hPA to 1028 hPA (corresponding to an altitude uncertainty of 100 meters or about 30 building floors) - to say nothing of any positive pressure produced by the HVAC system within the building.

Susan Rambo
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Re: Bosch MEMS sensor - air pressure and SI units
Susan Rambo   2/12/2014 11:56:27 AM
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@DrQuine: "It also provides an interesting object lesson in atmospheric pressure in SI units."  Interesting! Thanks Dr. Quine. So what you're saying is the Bosch MEMS sensor can measure such small pressure changes that it can tell if you're on the 4th floor or the 30th floor and not be affected by general pressure changes in or outside building (weather, HVAC)?

DrQuine
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Re: Bosch MEMS sensor - air pressure and SI units
DrQuine   2/12/2014 6:04:52 PM
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The sensor claims to be able to read your barometric pressure altitude within 3 feet (which would define the floor of a building). The challenge is that is needs to adjust for weather related pressure changes which could cause the readings to be off by 30 floors...

David Ashton
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Re: Bosch MEMS sensor - air pressure and SI units
David Ashton   2/12/2014 6:45:26 PM
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The same problem applies to aircraft altimeters - the pilot gets a "QNH" (I think) figure which is the sea level pressure at his location, puts it in and the altimeter is accurate.   So all you need is some way of (preferably automatically) telling the phone the QNH and it should be accurate...

DrQuine
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Re: Bosch MEMS sensor - air pressure and SI units
DrQuine   2/13/2014 4:58:32 PM
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Thanks for the "QNH" aviation explanation.  Certainly the same approach could work for SmartPhones: the GPS would provide a location and the nearest reference barometer could provide the correction factor.  The one remaining issue would be the pressure differential inside the building.  Many buildings run at positive pressure which would cause the "altimeter" to read a lower floor level than it should (denser air). Perhaps a simpler approach would be for the GPS to detect entry into the building perimeter, use the indoor ground level air pressure as the barometric pressure reference. It could then compute floor levels by the associated pressure reductions as the air pressure reduced with increasing altitude.

David Ashton
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Re: Bosch MEMS sensor - air pressure and SI units
David Ashton   2/13/2014 5:15:10 PM
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@DrQuine....I didn't know about buildings being pressurised.  As you say there are ways round this but the easiest thing is probably to find an elevator and see what floor you are on :-)

Susan Rambo
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Re: Bosch MEMS sensor - air pressure and SI units
Susan Rambo   2/13/2014 6:07:36 AM
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Thanks. Yes I was disappointed when I found out an altimeter is really just a barometer with more math. (In other words, you subtract the local weather conditions.) Once I wanted a fancy watch with an altimeter on it for hiking but when I found out the altimeter was just a barometer, I decided it was just a toy (for my purposes). An altimeter wasn't going to keep me from getting lost.

Susan Rambo
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Re: Bosch MEMS sensor - air pressure and SI units
Susan Rambo   2/13/2014 6:14:02 AM
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Yikes. Sounds like altimeter designers are under a lot of pressure. (Bad pun I know.)

DrQuine
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Star Trek Tricoder coming soon?
DrQuine   2/11/2014 2:47:31 PM
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With the chemical and biological sensors under development, the SmartPhone "Tricorder" envisioned in Star Trek is getting closer by the day. Already medical attachments are being developed for SmartPhones which are compact and can be deployed in remote locations to improve healthcare.

zewde yeraswork
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Re: Star Trek Tricoder coming soon?
zewde yeraswork   2/11/2014 4:20:15 PM
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Remote healthcare is one of the under-appreciated, up-and-coming areas that isn't quite enough of a trend to merit its own place on this slideshow, but could definitely be on here in a year or two. You're right, it's going to require a little bit of time, but it is coming fast.

prabhakar_deosthali
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Smart"phone" has now become a misnomer
prabhakar_deosthali   2/12/2014 8:51:22 AM
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With so many sensors measuring humidity, temperature, acceleration, ambint light, gestures and what not - why we keep calling that device as a smart"phone".

We should now start calling smart phones as something else because calling somebody has become one of the simplest tasks of such devices . They are slowly becoming like a handheld laboratory full of so many varied instruments capable of doing many varied tasks.

 

 How about calling them as PERSONAL ASSISTANTS (PA) ?

Susan Rambo
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Re: Smart"phone" has now become a misnomer
Susan Rambo   2/13/2014 6:18:52 AM
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Hi prabhakar_deosthali: Yes it's like the smartphone is really a tricorder and communicator put into one. Even Star Trek didn't think of that one.

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