I know, youíre tired of hearing about the Internet of Things (IoT). But letís talk about one of the components -- one of the more unheralded components -- that makes it tick, the sensors. What good is it to have everything connected to everything when you donít know whatís happening at the client end? Thatís where the sensors clearly need to come into play.
Design News is holding a class next week in its online Continuing Education Center that goes through the basics of various types of sensors. If you know what types of sensors are available, that cuts down your development work considerably. Then, when you know which type of sensor is best for your application, you need to know how to integrate it to maximize its performance.
I think youíll be surprised at not only how many sensor types exist, but how many exist within each sub-category. Depending on your power, space, cost, ergonomics, etc. needs, choosing the right sensor may not make or break your design, but itíll sure make a difference to how it operates, and of course to how happy the user is with the system.
Sensors and a need for the information. During the dotcom bubble companies were scrambling to stick everything on the Internet, but it just wasn't called the IoT yet. There were going to be connected toasters, refrigerators, coffee makers, you name it. Remember Audrey from 3Com? Anyway, after a few prototypes it was quickly determined that the refrigerator really didn't need to talk to the toaster. One application that worked out well was a fire alarm because every appliance in the house would alarm if the smoke detector went off. Bee do, bee do, bee do.
Honestly, I think 3Com was just ahead of the curve on Audrey, since a broadband connection was still rare back then; and then the bubble burst with a big bang.
Most of us live our lives in a manner a bit more random than a fully automated single product assembly line, or at least we would preferr to live them that way. Thus we have a bit less need to be informed of every single detail about every single aspect of our existance. Because of that, providing all of this useless information is a waste of our time, our resources, and a lot of bandwidth.
Of course those who sell the products will argue that, but sales is all about producing the perception of need for a product, and then possibly convincing some that ones product better satisfies that need. So it is quite important to consider just who is touting the alleged value of all these items, and what their motivation is.
It is fine to advetrise the benefits of a product, but the rest of us should consider what actual benefits we will get from buying that product.
Sensors are one of the key elements to IoT along with the intelligence and the network. Tim O'Reilly also points out another critical item to IoT and that is the human element. In his O'Reilly Radar blog, Tim explains how the human plays an important role to the IoT because of the interaction that coexists between both elements. The link below explains how the IoT must include the human thus making it an IoTH device.
There is currently much discussion around the term "platform," which may be preceded by the adjectives "mobile," "wearable," "medical," "healthcare," etc. However, regardless of the platform being discussed, they usually have one key aspect in common: They tend to be wireless. So, why is this one aspect so fairly universal? The answer is convenience.
Everyone has a MEMS story. For most of us itís probably the airbag that saved our lives or the life of a loved one. Perhaps itís the tire pressure sensor that alerted us about deflation before we were stranded alone on a dark muddy road.
Bioimimicry is not merely a helpful design tool -- it also encourages designers to think not only about how to solve design problems by imitating nature, but how to make the products, materials, and systems they design more ecologically sound and nature-friendly.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.