The Embedded Technology 2012 trade show held recently in Yokohama, Japan, focused on five smart technologies: energy, healthcare, agriculture, automotive, and transportation systems, as well as mobile and cloud computing.
The show floor bristled with sensors that can go into virtually anywhere, from shoes and cars to the water standing in rice fields.
Anticipating a world of ubiquitous sensors and connected networks, vendors demonstrated solutions that addressed such fundamental questions as:
How will new sensors be powered?
How do we build systems that can handle multiple sensors in parallel?
How quickly can we design and tune different analog front-end circuits specific to each type of sensor?
What protocols are necessary for sensors to communicate among themselves?
And, at what frequency range can sensors be wirelessly connected?
Below are a dozen examples of the devices, embedded systems, and applications that are making sensors ubiquitous. Click on the photo to start the slideshow.
Murata Manufacturing showed off a running shoe embedded with clear piezo film devices and a Bluetooth smart module. Five small patches of piezo film placed on the sole can detect friction and foot movement inside the "smart" shoe, allowing it to measure and help regulate the user’s walking or running habits.
Science fiction author Isaac Asimov may have the best rules for effective brainstorming and creativity. His never-before-published essay, "On Creativity," recently made it to the Web pages of MIT Technology Review.
Much has been made over the potentially dangerous flammability of lithium-ion batteries after major companies like Boeing, Sony, and Tesla have grappled with well-publicized battery fires. Researchers at Stanford University may have come up with a solution to this problem with a smart sensor for lithium-ion batteries that provides a warning if the battery is about to overheat or catch fire.
In this new Design News feature, "How it Works," we’re starting off by examining the inner workings of the electronic cigarette. While e-cigarettes seemed like a gimmick just two or three years ago, they’re catching fire -- so to speak. Sales topped $1 billion last year and are set to hit $10 billion by 2017. Cigarette companies are fighting back by buying up e-cigarette manufacturers.
Advertised as the "Most Powerful Tablet Under $100," the Kindle Fire HD 6 was too tempting for the team at iFixit to pass up. Join us to find out if inexpensive means cheap, irreparable, or just down right economical. It's teardown time!
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