New products, Conferences, Books, Papers, Internet of Things

Archive for March, 2010

Wireless Sensor Promises Diabetics Noninvasive Blood Sugar Readings

For many diabetics, the unpleasant chore of drawing blood several times a day in order to check blood glucose levels is a part of life. Efforts to develop devices that can test blood glucose without the need to repeatedly prick fingers have faltered thus far due to questions about accuracy as well as complaints about skin irritation. One company is hoping to solve these problems with a biochemical sensor that adheres to the skin like a bandage and sends continuous blood glucose readings to a handheld wireless device.

More info here.

Humdinger Wind Energy develops portable wind energy harvester

According to statistics, about 2 percent of global electricity comes from wind-powered generators, and their capacity has doubled in the past three years. However, scaling down wind turbines for use as an electronic device charger hasn’t proved fruitful, as conventional wind turbines require rotating fins and gears, which add bulk, making the device inefficient when scaled down.

Humdinger Wind Energy LLC has developed a product dubbed the MicroBelt that according to the company can power the new information age with a billion tiny harvests. The world today is monitored by millions of wireless sensors that collect a variety of information. These sensors then connect the real world with the internet world by consuming energy.

More info here.

Next Generation RS485 Wireless Mesh Network System Released

Crossbow Japan Ltd., a subsidiary of MEMSIC Inc.,announced today the availability of the RS485 Wireless Mesh Network System. The System enables users to convert existing wired RS485 systems into wireless networks just by replacing the wired connections to the wireless WS-Z5000A node.

Using leading-edge wireless sensor networking technology the RS485 wireless connection offers versatility for industrial use of 1:1 or 1:N. The WS-Z5000A can be easily configured within the software enabling the user to easily adopt the WS-Z5000A into a wide range of different RS485 wired protocols.

More info here.

Mini generators make energy from random ambient vibrations

Tiny generators developed at the University of Michigan could produce enough electricity from random, ambient vibrations to power a wristwatch, pacemaker or wireless sensor.

The energy-harvesting devices, created at U-M’s Engineering Research Center for Wireless Integrated Microsystems, are highly efficient at providing renewable electrical power from arbitrary, non-periodic vibrations. This type of vibration is a byproduct of traffic driving on bridges, machinery operating in factories and humans moving their limbs, for example.

More info here.

'Smart' Contact Lens with Embedded Wireless Sensor for Glaucoma Treatment

STMicroelectronics, the world’s leading supplier of MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) devices for consumer and portable applications, has announced that it will develop and supply a wireless MEMS sensor that acts as a transducer, antenna and mechanical support for additional read-out electronics in a breakthrough platform developed by Swiss company Sensimed AG. This solution will enable better management of glaucoma patients via earlier diagnosis and treatment that is optimally tailored to the individual patient.
Known as the SENSIMED Triggerfish®, the solution is based on a “smart” contact lens that uses a tiny embedded strain gauge to monitor the curvature of the eye over a period of, typically, 24 hours, providing valuable disease management data that is not currently obtainable using conventional ophthalmic equipment.

More info here.

PhD Student Position in WSN

We are glad to announce a PhD position at the University of Trento, Italy, for doing research in WSN within the D3S group. D3S is a cross-institution group of researchers from both the university and the nearby FBK-IRST research centre, whose projects are characterised by theoretical backing and practical applicability.

Examples of projects currently ongoing include TRITon, a project on road tunnel monitoring using WSNs, and ACube, a project where a pervasive computing environment equipped with audio, video, and other types of sensors provide support for elders and people with disabilities. New PhD students are invited to participate in ongoing projects to gain experience and insight into real systems, and to identify novel, challenging problems whose solutions break new ground.

Complete info about the call, the University, the city and previous research projects from this group are available here.

Applications deadline 20 April 2010

The Internet of Things

Trend Watch Sensor Survey

Design engineers assessment of sensor market evolution reveals Wireless Sensor Networks as the hotest sensor technology, with 60 percent of the respondents saying that they see WSN heating up in the next 12-18 months, thanks to greater reliability and easy-to-use, plug-and-play connections. There is also the potential with wireless for significant savings when it comes to installation costs.

The 2010 Trend Watch Sensor Survey results were published by Design News and half of the survey respondents design products for the industrial market. The balance of respondents works in industries as diverse as automotive and aerospace to packaging and healthcare.

When selecting a sensor, respondents said that reliability, accuracy and durability/ruggedness are the top three characteristics, while product support and availability are critical when selecting a particular supplier.

The file with full results is available here [pdf]

Designing Wireless Sensors to Last 25 Years

When designing a power management system for a wireless remote sensor, it is important to choose a primary battery that last for decades under extreme operating conditions. Lithium thionyl chloride chemistry is the preferred choice due to its proven ability to deliver 25-plus years of service life.

Optimizing battery life and long-term reliability involves numerous variables, including the chemistry, the cell design, the quality of mechanical components, the purity of raw materials and the manufacturing processes employed. Shortcuts in quality can negatively impact service life.

The total amount of active chemical ingredients and the ratio of each ingredient determine the cell’s nominal capacity. Predicting expected operating life solely on the cell’s nominal capacity can be misleading however, as the cell’s capacity is affected by the active components, the internal self-discharge, the application power profile and environmental factors. Since the volume of active ingredients is limited by the size of the cell, nominal capacity values often do not vary substantially. So the key differentiator often involves the inner structure of the cell and the ratio of active ingredients. For this reason, design engineers should evaluate the battery’s Equivalent Operating Capacity (EOC) to properly calculate its expected operating life, taking into account the cell’s self-discharge rate, application current profile and environmental conditions.

More info here.

Connecting Your Car, Socks and Body to the Internet

From the NYT:

Several years ago, I watched Vint Cerf, who helped draft the architecture of the Internet and is now chief Internet evangelist at Google, give a talk about the future of the Internet.

During his presentation, he discussed the early days of the Internet, when he was developing the protocol called TCP/IP with the United States Department of Defense. He talked about some of the strange early networking experiments his team did, but he also talked about his socks. He explained that one day everything would be connected to the Internet, including his socks, and if one should fall behind the washing machine while he was doing laundry, it would be able to notify the other sock of its whereabouts.

The basis for this concept is called “the Internet of things.”

The day when we have communicative socks might not be too far off, according to a report released Monday by McKinsey & Company. The paper highlights some of the major changes that will result from the growing ubiquity from sensors and objects connected to the Internet, including “sensor-driven decision analytics” and “complex autonomous systems.”

The complete article is available here.

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