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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
@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)?
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...
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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) ?