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.
The promise of the Internet of Things (IoT) is that devices, gadgets, and appliances we use every day will be able to communicate with one another. This potential is not limited to household items or smartphones, but also things we find in our yard and garden, as evidenced by a recent challenge from the element14 design community.
If you didn't realize that PowerPoint presentations are inherently hilarious, you have to see Don McMillan take one apart. McMillan -- aka the Technically Funny Comic -- worked for 10 years as an engineer before he switched to stand-up comedy.
The first Tacoma Narrows Bridge was a Washington State suspension bridge that opened in 1940 and spanned the Tacoma Narrows strait of Puget Sound between Tacoma and the Kitsap Peninsula. It opened to traffic on July 1, 1940, and dramatically collapsed into Puget Sound on November 7, just four months after it opened.
Noting that we now live in an era of “confusion and ill-conceived stuff,” Ammunition design studio founder Robert Brunner, speaking at Gigaom Roadmap, said that by adding connectivity to everything and its mother, we aren't necessarily doing ourselves any favors, with many ‘things’ just fine in their unconnected state.
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